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Editorial Graham Scott EDITOR

We will fight this mean political decision on pay Last week’s announcements on pay by government ministers in each of the UK countries were hard to stomach. A measly pay award of 1 per cent, recommended by the independent NHS Pay Review Body, will be withheld from tens of thousands of health service staff by a bunch of mean politicians who should know better. That is why Nursing Standard has started an e-petition on the HM Government website. If we secure 100,000 signatures, we might get the issue debated in parliament, so I urge you to sign it: go to

PATIENT CARE WILL SUFFER AS The review body (RB) system was set up by a Conservative A DEMORALISED WORKFORCE FEELS INCREASINGLY UNVALUED government to take politics out

of public sector pay negotiations. Now a Tory-led coalition in England and the Labour administration in Wales are using the salaries of nurses, healthcare assistants, doctors, teachers and others to make cheap political points. Cynics might say the Scottish National Party (SNP), which holds power in Scotland, is being equally political in implementing the RB’s recommended 1 per cent across-the-board rise. The independence referendum is only six months away, after all. The RB system is now in such disarray that it is time for a mature, apolitical debate on whether it is worth keeping. It has been stood down for next year’s pay round, and there must be serious doubts over its future. The alternative is grim: it would probably involve an annual round of pay talks during which unions make optimistic claims and governments insist that no rise is affordable. There would be renewed attempts to introduce local pay bargaining, even though few employers in England have ever made use of their existing, extensive powers to strike their own deals. The more militant staff groups would threaten industrial action; some might even take it. And all the while patient care will suffer, as a demoralised workforce develops an even greater sense of being unvalued. Do ministers and senior managers ever read the results of staff surveys, or research showing the link between well motivated staff and patient outcomes? Presumably not. See news pages 7, 8 and 9 Air your views on

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We will fight this mean political decision on pay.

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