P R E S S     R E L E A S E

30th November 2002

For immediate release

Agenda For Change

The statement on Agenda for Change made by the Secretary of State on Thursday 28th November is cautiously welcomed by the Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists (GHP). The detail provides some much needed insight into these negotiations, where information for staff working within the NHS has so far been scant. However, Pharmacists and other pharmacy staff need to be aware the information made available is only part of the picture.There are significant elements that have yet to be formally announced which include details of the agreed job evaluation scheme and the suite of job profiles. These are not expected to be available until mid-January. The consequence is that it is not possible for the majority of NHS staff to determine what the Agenda for Change proposals might mean for them individually, although the announcement from the Secretary of State did give some clues relating to newly qualified nurses. One important point to note at this stage is that there are comprehensive protection arrangements, many of which are described within the document issued jointly by the Department of Health and the Trade Unions. Locally negotiated arrangements for on-call/24 hour services are also protected. Only once all the details within "Agenda for Change" have been made available will the Trade Unions start the full consultation process with their members.

Subject to the outcome of consultation, the new pay system will begin to be introduced in some "early implementer" sites in England in Spring 2003. These sites will help establish best practice in using the system delivering intended benefits for staff and patients. The system will then be implemented across the NHS from October 2004. It is therefore necessary of course that we submit a pay claim for 2002/03 to address pay issues in other sites.

In the interim GHP are being consulted on the suite of job profiles available and their evaluation, the latter dictating the pay band the job will be placed in. The job profiles will then be used by NHS organizations to assist with the local implementation of Agenda for Change. This is clearly a key task and GHP Council may well need to seek help from members to help inform this process.


Ron Pate Bob McArtney
Chairman Staff Side President
Pharmaceutical Whitley Council GHP

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