Negotiating pay for consultants separately in Wales is 'no longer viable', according to the health minister.
Following an announcement that the Welsh NHS is to pay all staff the living wage, Mark Drakeford said:
“In the absence of meaningful negotiations with BMA Wales, I feel I have no option but to conclude that it is no longer viable to maintain a separate Welsh contract.
“We will seek formally to join the England and Northern Ireland negotiations with a view to implementing this contract in the future, which ensures consultants in Wales have the same opportunities as their colleagues in other parts of the UK.”
The Welsh NHS Confederation says it regrets that there have been no meaningful discussions on the matter:
Richard Tompkins, Director, NHS Wales Employers, said:
“We very much regret that it has not been possible to negotiate on the paybill for medical staff in Wales.
“We now want to work with colleagues in Welsh Government and BMA Cymru to ensure that moving to a UK contract delivers parity for doctors across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, fairly rewards continued excellence and reflects the needs of future service delivery.”
Around 2,400 of the lowest paid employees in the NHS in Wales will receive an increase in their basic salary as the organisation becomes a living wage employer.
The health minister announced today that all staff will be paid at least the living wage of £7.65 an hour – more than the minimum wage rate of £6.31 an hour.
The change which will come into force from September.
The Living Wage Commission has called for all public sector workers to be paid a living wage of at least £7.65 per hour.
Professor Drakeford said:
"This sends a clear signal that the Welsh Government is committed to tackling poverty and that NHS Wales is a fair, equitable employer.
“I have also decided the fairest option that will benefit the majority of workers is to award all Agenda for Change staff a flat cash payment of £160 and to protect the ability for those not at the top of their pay bands to move up to the next increment when it becomes due.
"This will mean that more than nine out of 10 NHS staff will receive a pay award in 2014-15."
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Trade unions representing around 400,000 workers across Wales have today condemned political attacks aimed at the Welsh NHS and called on the Prime Minister to apologise for describing Offa's Dyke as a 'line between life and death'.
In a public statement, marking the 66th anniversary of the NHS, unions are warning that political attacks have already damaged morale within the service and risk 'driving a wedge between patients and staff.'
Wales TUC unions within the health service represent thousands of NHS Wales workers ranging from nurses, paramedics and consultants to porters and physiotherapists.
Wales TUC General Secretary Martin Mansfield said:
"Today we should feel proud that the NHS was made in Wales, proud of the advances made and doubly proud of our committed and talented health workforce. We know that, despite political attacks from UK politicians, NHS workers have the support of the Welsh public.
"Of course there are challenges and resources are stretched, but our members see the reality of an excellent service striving to be even better in the wards, surgeries and clinics right across Wales. It is time that their voice is heard."
A Downing St spokesman said:
“The PM has set out his view on how the NHS is run in Wales and he stands by that.”
The Welsh Government has responded to a warning from the British Medical Association that the NHS here faces a "stark future", insisting that there are no proposals to cut consultants' pay in Wales.
We have received the pay review body’s recommendation and are working with representatives from professional bodies and trades unions about how an equivalent sum to that being made available in England can be distributed to NHS staff in Wales.
There are no proposals to cut consultants’ pay. We share BMA Wales’ aim of continuing to improve healthcare, but regret it has been unable to come to the table to negotiate with NHS Employers in Wales about the reform of terms and conditions in the Welsh consultants’ contract.
In the absence of Welsh discussions, which we would very much have preferred, we are now considering how we can ensure that comparable opportunities are available to consultants in Wales as to their colleagues in England.
When it comes to spending on health the BMA has got its figures wrong. Wales actually spends £42 more per head of population on health than England.
Doctors group the British Medical Association has issued a severe warning, saying the NHS in Wales is "facing a very stark future that threatens to scar our nation."
BMA Welsh council chairman Dr Philip Banfield was speaking at the trade union's annual conference in Harrogate.
He said that the Welsh Government plans to cut the salaries of consultants which could mean that they will earn 5 per cent less than their counterparts in the UK, and warned the move "will worsen the continuing recruitment crisis in Wales."
The BMA received over 450 unsolicited emails and letters working in Wales, expressing their dismay at the proposal.
Dr Banfield said: "Financial targets still take precedence over clinical priorities, our doctors, nurses and other front-line clinical staff have morale at an all-time low, stress at an all-time high – and this, as we have seen, is when mistakes happen and patients die unnecessarily."
Police have confirmed two people have been arrested after an elderly woman suffered a 'serious and unexplained' injury in hospital and later died.
Tegwen Roderick, 88, died at Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil on June 4 after suffering an "unexplained and serious injury" at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon, Mountain Ash, at the end of May .
A 52-year-old woman was arrested on Friday on suspicion of assault and conspiring to pervert the course of justice.
A 64-year-old man was arrested today on suspicion of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.
Both have been bailed.
10 employees at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon were suspended initially.
Six of the ten staff suspended as part of the investigation into the death of a elderly woman in hospital have had their suspensions lifted, the health board says.
Cwm Taf University Health Board's chief executive Allison Williams said arrangements are being made for those six to return to work.
In investigations such as this, staff may be suspended as a precautionary measure. As is normal practice in any investigation such suspensions are reviewed on an ongoing basis.
We can confirm that six suspensions have already been lifted today and arrangements are being made for those staff to return to work. We will continue to review the remaining suspensions as the investigation proceeds.
South Wales Police says its investigation into the circumstance surrounding Tegwen Roderick's death is ongoing and a postmortem is being carried out.
A police spokesman said she suffered 'serious injuries' which are currently 'unexplained.' He added: "At this stage there is no confirmed link between the injuries and her death"
Four people are assisting officers with their enquiries.
Allison Williams, chief executive of Cwm Taf University Health Board, says she recognises there is public concern over the ongoing investigation. She says the health board will work with police to "get to the bottom of what happened."
Cwm Taf University Health Board takes the care and safety of its patients extremely seriously. As soon as staff identified that there was a problem with the patient concerned, they acted quickly and appropriately. We are continuing to work with the police to do everything we can to get to the bottom of what happened.
We would like to emphasise that there is no suggestion that any other patients have been affected.
She added that anyone with concerns about the care of their relatives are encouraged to talk to ward staff who can arrange for them to speak with a senior member of the health board.