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Health minister criticises NHS pay cartel

A minister’s criticism of the lsouth-west England carte has given doctors leaders hope the government is retreating on plans for increased local negotiation on pay.

Health minister Dan Poulter described the South West Pay, Terms and Conditions Consortium, which is considering breaking away from national agreements, as 'somewhat heavy-handed' during a Commons debate.

He told MPs he hoped the consortium would also see the benefit of maintaining national pay frameworks, and spoke of ‘encouraging results from national pay negotiations’ such as those affecting Agenda for Change staff. Unions are due to consult staff on the outcome of these talks.

Dr Poulter insisted that there was general agreement national pay frameworks should be maintained ‘provided they are afit for purpose’.

He said: 'We endorse national pay frameworks and will do all that we can to preserve them.'

BMA council chair Mark Porter said: 'This is the first criticism of the cartel by the government and we hope that this will signal that they won’t be pressing ahead with further regional negotiations.'