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A study of the effects of pay reform in the National Health Service

Schofield, Clare (2001) A study of the effects of pay reform in the National Health Service. UNSPECIFIED. Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

Agenda for Change was a document, released in February 1999 by the Department of Health, outlining major pay reform in the National Health Service (NHS). A central tenet of reform is flexibility, in terms of job roles and tasks, where existing and traditional demarcation was judged to be a serious inhibitor to a modern health service. According to the current labour Government the NHS pay scheme is too rigid with an incremental pay structure based only on longevity of service. Progression through the pay scales is not currently linked to individual or team performance. This has inhibited new skill acquisition and has restricted employees from assuming extra responsibilities that new technology or modern working practices might demand. The focus of this research is centred on the way, in which the new pay framework will operate and on what basis staff will be allowed to progress up the pay spines. The guidelines describe modern flexible career paths and continuing professional development as the determining factors for progression and these will be bound in a performance-related pay structure. Researchers in the field of HRM assert that there is a lack of analytical work on the impact of performance-related pay in the public sector and this is particularly acute in relation to the NHS. This paper will analyse and evaluate the current reward management practices prevalent in the NHS to identify the advantages and disadvantages in terms of performance, motivation and reward. It will also identify and establish if the new pay structure achieves its' "principles and intentions" of increasing flexibility, meeting the needs of patients, achieving a quality workforce with the necessary skills and motivation, consistent with wider national HR strategies.

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