I wish to advise that NIPSA are still waiting on a response from the Department of Health (DOH) on a range of questions central to allowing NIPSA to consult with members on pay and safe staffing proposals.

You will be aware that following discussions at NIPSA’s Health Central Panel, NIPSA plans to consult our members through a ballot in relation to the proposals endorsed by the Health Minister on the two issues mentioned above. Whilst we now understand and welcome that the Agenda for Change Pay Calculator is live on the DOH website. We await a formal response on queries that would allow us to provide factual information to members. For information, the questions sent to the DOH are as follows:

Safe Staffing
  • What are the timescales for filling all permanent posts on a permanent basis?
  • Can you confirm how it is planned to develop career pathways for staff and the timescales?
  • What are the timescales for paid in-service training becoming available?
  • What are the timescales to end delays in recruitment and the need to expedite the recruitment process?
  • What are the timescales and processes to deal with agency spending?
Pay
  • Will all those at the top of their pay bands get a 1.67% pay increase in 20/21?
  • What numbers of staff and at which pay points in each band may have a pensions contribution increase which will result in either (a) an arrears reduction (b) an overpayment?
  • Are there any Tax implications in the event that the settlement of the pay deal will cross over 2 tax years?
  • Are there any Tax implications in the event that the payment of arrears will cross over 2 tax years?
  • Can you advise when the DOH pay calculator will be operational and will it take account of any pension implications due to a pay rise?
  • How much is the actual cost of the pay deal?
  • How many staff are currently at each pay point within each band?

At the NIPSA Health Central Panel on Friday 7 February 2020, it was agreed that until we obtain this information from the DOH, members would not have all the necessary factual information required to make an informed decision on these two crucial issues. On that basis, we will strive to obtain this detail as soon as possible. The Health Central Panel will reconvene again on Wednesday 12 February 2020 at 9.30am to consider, in the continued absence of a response from the DOH, the best way forward.

Maria Morgan
Assistant Secretary