'All NHS staff in fear of pay cuts'
HEALTH workers believe that plans to introduce regional pay and conditions would have a "devastating" impact on their lives.
A survey by union Unison of 1,000 NHS employees in the South West showed almost all were concerned about the prospect of pay cuts, increased hours and performance-related pay being introduced by a group of 20 health trusts, including Bristol and Weston's hospital trusts.
Unison describes the South West NHS Pay Consortium as a cartel and says some members it surveyed would have to cut down on essentials such as food, and might not be able to pay their mortgage, if their wages were cut following years of pay freezes.
The union was due to lobby MPs today on the "dangers" of introducing regional pay and conditions.
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Christina McAnea, Unison's head of health, said: "This survey shows that the South West pay cartel's plans could push health workers in the region to breaking point. They are worried about the impact on their families, but also what these changes would mean for their patients."
Last week the Royal College of Nursing claimed the cartel would harm patient care.
A spokesman for the consortium of NHS Trusts said it had not put forward any plans for changes to staff pay and conditions, although it was considering their possible effects.