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Scottish government set to remove pay cap on public sector workers

Healthcare unions have welcomed the news that the Scottish government will work to lift the pay cap currently imposed on public sector workers in Scotland.

Sarah J

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Scottish government set to remove pay cap on public sector workers

Healthcare unions have welcomed the news that the Scottish government will work to lift the pay cap currently imposed on public sector workers in Scotland.

The Scottish government has promised it will take immediate steps towards removing the cap on public sector pay in the face of real threats by nurses to go on strike.

The Royal College of Nursing released the results of a poll of its membership showing 9 in 10 would support industrial action.

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister for Scotland, has been under intense pressure to lift the cap from Labour, the Scottish Green party and multiple healthcare union leaders – it was a key point her in pre-election manifesto.

Derek Mackay, the Scottish finance secretary, told MSPs; “The first minister has already indicated that the existing pay cap is becoming increasingly unsustainable, and we will be looking to take a different approach in the 2018-19 public sector pay policy”.

This news comes only days after a vote to abolish the UK-wide public sector pay cap was defeated in the House of Commons by just 14 votes.

Last week the RCN alongside 14 other healthcare unions wrote to Theresa May and called upon the Government to commit to the removal of the pay cap and address the real-terms loss of earnings. They warned that failing to do so could lead to industrial action across the board.

Meanwhile Vaughan Gething, the Welsh Health Secretary, has written to Jeremy Hunt asking for funds to be made available to the Welsh government in order to ensure a pay rise for NHS staff.

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Labour calls for £500m emergency ‘winter bailout fund’ for NHS

Ian Snug

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Labour calls for £500m emergency 'winter bailout fund' for NHS

Labour will call for the government to commit a £500m “winter bailout fund” for the NHS over the coming months.

Jonathan Ashworth, the Shadow Health Secretary, says the money is needed to increase capacity in struggling hospitals and pay for extra staff as the NHS faces the worst winter on record.

He also said it was Labour’s “ambition” to return NHS funding increases to the same level as during the 1997-2010 Labour governments.

Mr Ashworth claims that Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, and Theresa May have failed to provide an adequate plan to how the NHS is preparing, for what is expected to be, the worst winter on record for the health and social care service. 

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the RCN, said:

“Any bailout money this winter should be used to bolster frontline staff and help ensure safe patient care. Having the right number of nurses is key to treating people effectively and safely.

“Yet too many hospitals are chronically short of nursing staff. As demand increases over the winter months,  it’s patients who will pay the price unless something is done.

“Properly funding the NHS is a political choice – it should not reach the stage where a last-minute bailout is required to keep people safe.”

The Shadow Health Secretary will use a speech to the Labour party conference today to call for the extra funding.

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£13 million funding to help hospital A&Es prepare for winter

Sarah J

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£13 million funding to help hospital A&Es prepare for winter

The Department of Health has announced 19 hospitals in England will benefit from extra funding for emergency care over winter.

Following a plea for funding from NHS Providers, the association that represents healthcare trusts, the Department of Health (DoH) has announced it will provide additional funding to nineteen NHS hospitals in England.

The 19 hospitals across England will be given a cash injection of over £13 million for emergency care, in the latest wave of winter funding announced today by Health Minister Philip Dunne.

Around £13 million has been awarded to improve patient flow through A&E, ensuring departments are prepared for busy times during winter. The additional funding brings the total given to hospitals since April to over £90 million, part of the dedicated funding announced in the Spring Budget.

Minister of State for Health Philip Dunne said:

“Thanks to the hard work and dedication of staff, the NHS has put in place strong plans ahead of winter – ensuring patients continue to receive safe and efficient care as demand rises over the coming months.

This funding will give more hospitals the boost they need to streamline patient flow in A&E, freeing up A&Es to care for the sickest patients and helping make sure all patients get the right treatment in the right place as quickly as possible”.

The funding will be used to help hospitals finalise preparations ahead of winter, particularly to handle the large volumes of patients attending A&E. By investing in the necessary equipment or infrastructure, hospitals will be able to target improvements to patient flow and relieve pressure on A&E.

The funding supports NHS England’s wider plans to improve A&E performance in England by 2018. In particular, it will help hospitals hit the target of admitting, transferring or discharging 95% of patients within 4 hours.

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