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Wednesday 17th January 2018

NHS still not cost efficient

18th June 2009

A powerful committee of MPs say the deal to modernise pay and conditions for a million health service workers in England has failed to make the NHS more cost efficient.


The Public Accounts Committee says the Agenda for Change contract, phased in between 2004 and 2006, had shown little evidence of progress, savings or increased efficiency.

It was introduced to create a more flexible workforce, create a standardised pay structure, shift patterns and improve care and career progression and covered all NHS staff apart from doctors, dentists and managers.

But MPs identified a major problem in NHS trusts not being asked to measure productivity as a result of the initiative and highlighted poor take up of knowledge and skills reviews by staff.

PAC committee chairman Edward Leigh said he had doubts the promised savings of £1.3bn over five years could be achieved.

"There is no evidence of the increased productivity and other savings in the NHS that were going to be achieved," he said.

The Department of Health is to be urged to issue guidance on how the NHS should manage the contract from now on and what targets they should be aiming for.

However, the Royal College of Nursing claimed there was evidence Agenda for Change had improved the NHS for patients and staff while Health Minister Ann Keen said it had made it easier to define new roles for staff and pay them accordingly.

"We do not agree with the conclusion that there is no evidence of increased productivity,” she said.


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