Healthcare workers still waiting for promised payments

Employers are “extremely concerned” up to 20,000 health workers in England have not yet received a one-off payment of nearly £1,655 agreed last May.

NHS staff in England were awarded the lump sum, alongside a 5% pay rise. Those in front-line NHS settings but employed by social enterprises were initially excluded, until November when ministers agreed to fund it.

The government says non-NHS organisations are responsible for making the payments.Employers were told to apply to the Department of Health and Social Care to receive funding to cover the award.

But they say there is still no indication of when this will happen and have not been updated on progress. These social enterprises are often not-for-profit community organisations founded to take on services outsourced by the NHS in England.

Staff, including community nurses and physiotherapists, are transferred across from NHS trusts but remain on the same pay and conditions. And some continue to wear NHS uniforms.

Social Enterprise UK director Dan Gregory said: “Social enterprises were promised funding to cover all parts of the NHS pay deal last year- but our members still haven’t seen that money.

“So vital staff, working hard on the front line have now been waiting nearly a year for the government to properly fund the bonus that was agreed last spring.

“We remain extremely concerned that the government is not fulfilling its side of the deal to ensure that all staff delivering NHS care are paid what they deserve.”

Social Enterprise UK had threatened to take the government to court under judicial-review proceedings but paused its action when ministers said they would come up with the money.

But the option to continue with the action expires this week, meaning Social Enterprise UK would have to go back to the start of the prolonged judicial-review process. CSH Surrey provides community nursing and therapy services to adults and children and management were hoping to get the lump sum into March pay packets.

But chief executive Steve Flanagan said: “To date, we have not had any feedback or communication regarding an outcome of our application.

“We were hopeful that after the positive response, this would be resolved quickly allowing our ‘overlooked’ colleagues to be treated equally – but so far, this has not been the case.”

Speech-and-language therapist Pippa Wiseman said: “We continued seeing patients throughout lockdown, in full personal protective equipment, visiting households, care homes and working in community hospitals.

“To not receive this bonus has been incredibly disappointing for so many front-line people delivering NHS community services like me.

Industrial action
Other health groups have also been protesting, including some “bank staff”, who provide temporary cover for hospital trusts to fill rota gaps. The Royal College of Nursing has also been campaigning on behalf of members in GP practices.

And some members of the Unite union have staged industrial action when employers have failed to make the payments.

These include cleaners, porters and other NHS facilities staff, who demonstrated at the Department of Health this week. Separate pay deals have been agreed in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said: “Whilst these staff are contractually eligible for the payments, the independent organisations are responsible for making them.

“As outlined in the guidance, the outcome of applications made by individual organisations for additional funding will be known by the end of the financial year.

Source: BBC

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