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Health trusts under fire over pay consortium

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 14, 2012

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The pressure mounted on Westcountry hospital trusts to pull out of a regional pay cartel after Cornwall's county councillors weighed into the debate.

At a meeting yesterday members expressed dismay about the South West Pay Consortium.

The group, comprised of health trusts including hospitals in Cornwall, Exeter and Plymouth, says it is investigating ways to address future financial challenges.

However, members of the Health and Adults Overview and Scrutiny Committee were less than impressed.

Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust chief executive Lezli Boswell and chairman Martin Watts were at the session in Truro's County Hall.

Liberal Democrat councillor Mario Fonk told them he thought the SWC was a bad move.

"I think it will be a sad day for Cornwall if this happens. It must be resisted."

Councillors backed a set of resolutions put forward by their counterparts on Plymouth City Council.

The nine recommendations included calling for hospitals to formally consider the impact of the SWC and taking on board the impact of a local pay scheme on recruitment and retention of staff.

Meanwhile, unions that had campaigned against the cartel expressed delight when one trust quit the group.

Tony Spotswood, chief executive of the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said that following "careful consideration" the trust had decided to withdraw from the SWC. He did not give a reason.

Christina McAnea, Unison's head of health, said: "This is the right decision and good news for patients and staff.

"We hope that other trusts in the South West cartel will also review their involvement."

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