Headlines: October 13th, 1999

Employers representatives and unions have agreed a new pay system for one million NHS employees. The annual pay bill is 17 billion pounds, which is two thirds of the total cost of the health service. Current pay arrangements have become outdated. A crucial weakness is that they do not provide sufficient incentives to take on new responsibilities or to develop new skills.The changes, which are designed to support the modernisation of the health service include: three national pay spines to replace a variety of pay scales and a new approach to pay progression to reward new responsibilities and competencies. There will also be a national framework for determining pay increases.