Stop/go pay awards unhelpful, says The King's Fund

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Commenting on today's public sector pay announcement, Niall Dickson, The King's Fund Chief Executive, said:

'Pay is a major part of health spending and with many services under considerable pressure there will be genuine relief today among those who have to balance the NHS books. But it is a pity that we now seem to have a stop/go approach to pay - one minute unprecedented rises, the next a real terms pay cut. A more gradual and sustained investment in pay levels might have prevented some of the anguish now being felt.'

He added, 'There have been three major new contracts covering just about everyone in the NHS - they may in the end deliver what was expected from them. But the evidence so far is that they have yet to secure the fundamental changes in working patterns and increases in productivity that they were intended to produce'

Notes to editors

1. For further information or interviews, please contact the King’s Fund media and public relations office on 020 7307 2585, 020 7307 2632 or 020 7307 2581. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185.

2. The King’s Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through funding. We are a major resource to people working in health and social care, offering leadership development programmes; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.

3. Chancellor Gordon Brown told MPs today that he had accepted recommendations from the pay review body that awards be kept within the government's 2 per cent inflation target.