This is a post that has been a long time coming, if only because I can't really think of a way to make it in the slightest bit interesting.
Agenda For Change.
The short (and therefore hopefully less boring) version is this.
The government want to standardise pay for the whole of the NHS, so they are splitting different wages into 'bands', from band 1 the lowest, to band 9, the highest. Within each pay band is a range of potential wages, so, for eaxample, pay band 4 starts at £16,004 and then increases in 6 increments to £19,284.
Band 5 starts at £18,698 and then increases in 8 increments to £24,198.
Are you with me so far?
To decide what banding each profession in the health service starts at a group is convened, and they “job match”. So if for example you “Supervise fellow workers”, or “At risk of potentially serious physical abuse”, then you score some points and can be put into a higher band.
This is the problem that we in the ambulance service have – because of the things we are expected to do in our daily work, the government would have to pay us a lot of money.
So it has taken two years for them to try and work out how much to pay us.
They still haven't decided.
But today (actually I as was writing this) they published their findings.
Paramedics will be paid in band 5 (to be reviewed in 12 months).
They still haven't decided on EMTs (which is yours truly).
The bulletin that we have just recieved states that 'experienced' EMTs will be paid in Band 5, while less experienced ones will be paid less.
This is, frankly, a load of bollocks.
The reasoning behind the different increments within the band is that this is to represent increasing experience. The banding is supposed to represent what our job is.
EMTs all do the same work, so why I should I find myself working with someone who does all the same things that I do, has the same skills and has exactly the same job description, and yet gets paid a differing amount.
(But we won't know for sure for another two weeks…)
I can see a few things happening.
First, the Unions have all signed up for this, and so the general feeling from the crews on the road is that we have been sold down the river, this means that morale, which is poor at best, is going to plummet.
Secondly, I imagine that our ORCON percentage (our main benchmark of performance) is going to also take a nosedive.
Thirdly, it's going to cause friction between EMTs, paramedics and Team Leaders (who are on Band 6 despite hardly touching a patient). Especially when you consider that Paramedics are going to be paid their new, higher rate much earlier than any change in EMT wages. Add in the time that it will take for them to decide which EMTs are better than other EMTs and there will be a huge disparity in pay for quite some time.
My next post (assuming a Major Incident doesn't happen beforehand) will be about how the LAS could have lessened this problem.
Just to remind everyone (because at the moment I am incredibly angry, and this may explain any typos) is that the thoughts and views expressed here are mine alone – they do not reflect on my employer, or anyone else in the service.