Karen Middleton applauds CSP members for taking action on NHS pay, whatever the final outcome
By the time you read this, members in the NHS in England will have voted to either accept or reject the further pay offer from the Westminster Government and this column will have no bearing on the result.
Firstly, I want to be clear that from the CSP staff’s perspective, this additional offer is not of the order we would have wanted our members to receive – it does not make up for the years of essentially a pay cut or assist enough with the cost of living rise we are dealing with. We are also not happy with the unconsolidated aspect of the additional offer for 2022/23.
Secondly, I want to address the criticism of the CSP staff involved in the negotiations. The CSP staff involved are highly skilled negotiators with years of experience. This government has been intransigent and even getting them to the table was nothing short of a miracle.
Lastly, while the pay subgroup of the Employment Committee (CSP members) has advised acceptance of the offer as the most achievable through negotiation, this is for the affected members to decide – not CSP staff. We will act on whatever decision is taken by the membership.
I appreciate that there are differences across the four countries of the UK. This is because we have been negotiating with three different governments (Northern Ireland does not have an executive in situ) as health is a devolved issue, despite us being one profession and one CSP.
What I think is important to hold onto is that it was CSP members, through your action to strike, that brought the government to the table. This was at great personal and professional cost, and I know how hard that decision was. We also gained a profile as a profession not seen before.
This dispute was about valuing the profession of physiotherapy and so it was important as a whole profession to protest. I was heartened to see the support from members in the independent sector, private practice and the education sector, with some turning out on the picket lines.
We might not have achieved all we wanted, but in the economic context we are in, we have achieved an improved offer for 2022/23 and a higher offer for 2023/24 than that recommended by government in their evidence to the Pay Review Body. We have also stood tall as a profession and made it clear we can and will take a stand.
And we did all this with our patients and the public in support.
- Contact Karen to discuss this or any other issues at email@example.com
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