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Somerset healthcare assistants win band 3 pay deal

Hundreds of healthcare assistants (HCAs) in the South West of England have won a pay deal worth potentially more than £4,000 each, a union has said.

More than 550 HCAs employed by Somerset NHS Foundation Trust have had their Agenda for Change grading increased from band 2 to 3, according to Unison.

“The back pay will be a huge boost for staff”

Kerry Baigent

As well as the consolidated increases to the HCAs’ pay cheques, they will also receive back pay to March 2017, up to a maximum of £4,550 per person.

The deal was fought for as part of a national campaign by Unison to ensure HCAs are paid properly for the level they are working at.

Unison South West regional secretary Kerry Baigent said the pay agreement was a “fantastic win” for HCAs in the region.

“The regrading campaign means they are now being properly recognised and paid for their hard work,” Ms Baigent said.

“The back pay will be a huge boost for staff. It pays to be in a union.”

Members of Unison pointed out to the Somerset trust that they had been performing clinical tasks which are above that which someone on Agenda for Change band 2 should perform.

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These tasks included taking blood, performing electrocardiogram tests (ECGs), and cannula insertions.

Instead, they said, they should be on band 3, in line with the demands of Unison’s national campaign which launched earlier this year to up-band HCAs.

Before any formal industrial action was taken in Somerset, the trust’s leadership met the demands.

The Somerset trust has been contacted for comment.

At the other end of the country, in the North West of England, HCAs have been having mixed results in their fight for better pay, which has involved staff going on strike.

For example, deals have been secured at Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and East Cheshire NHS Trust.

However, campaigns are still ongoing at Wirral Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Warrington and Halton NHS Foundation Trust to win an agreement on back pay.

Speaking in September about the Wirral dispute, Unison North West regional organiser said his local members had been left “disappointed” by the offers put forward so far.

“The latest offer would leave the workers short-changed to the tune of thousands of pounds compared to colleagues working elsewhere in the region,” he said.

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