From Mr P. D. Leslie, MRPharmS
I read with interest the letter from Jane Kirton (PJ, 14 January 2012, p34
) about our professionalism being a laughing stock. The Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists has been involved, since 2004, with the negotiations at the national level on on-call. However, we were unable, with other unions, to reach an agreement with NHS Employers so, in 2010, the NHS Staff Council decided that the only way to resolve the complex situation was by local negotiation. They did, however, agree with the unions a list of principles that had to be taken into account in the negotiations for a harmonised agreement at local level. In line with Agenda for Change, this must ensure equal pay for work of equal value. The value element is determined by the band of the job. Therefore, band 6 nurses must be paid the same rates for the work they undertake as band 6 pharmacists. It is not possible to have different remuneration packages within the organisation for work done by staff on the same banding.
I presume that the £1.29/hour she stated is a standby payment as per the principles and that there should be an additional payment for work done. Agreements currently range from 80p/hour to £1.75/hour for standby and payment for work done, paid at the member of staff’s normal or overtime rate or at an agreed rate for each staff group.
It appears that Miss Kirton is concerned about the situation in her trust so may I suggest to her that the way forward would be for her and her colleagues to join the guild (if they are not already members) and elect a recognised accredited Unite representative. This way, they can be involved in negotiations directly putting the case for pharmacist members with the support of the largest union and, hopefully, improving the payment on behalf of her colleagues and herself.
So that the guild can monitor on-call agreements, it would be appreciated that members forward a copy of any agreements to us.
Contact details are available at www.ghp.org.uk
Chairman, Terms and Conditions
Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists