In an unexpected move, the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust has chosen to award some bank staff a lump sum bonus, despite no formal obligation to do so. This decision defies the national trend where such bonuses have been typically reserved for regular contracted staff.
The bonus forms part of a pay deal the NHS Trust agreed upon in May. Following the national guidance on bank worker payments, the Northumbria Trust identified a number of staff who worked regular shifts under flexible conditions, a finding which instigated their decision to award these workers a bonus.
Bank staff, often employed on zero-hours contracts via a separate employing entity, have traditionally been excluded from such deals. However, the Northumbria Trust, which operates hospitals throughout Northumberland and North Tyneside, has chosen to deviate from this norm.
“We are following all the national guidance on bank worker payments, but as part of this process we have uncovered a small number of staff who work in a way that has required closer attention,” a spokesperson for the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust explained.
The circumstances at Northumbria Trust are somewhat unique due to the presence of retire and return staff, as well as personnel who commit to regular shifts albeit in a more flexible manner. Considering these conditions, the Trust agreed to provide the bonus payment to these particular staff.
In light of this new development, Northumbria Trust is conducting a review of its bank and evaluating its future operations.
In contrast to this ground-breaking decision, other NHS trusts in the North East remain committed to following the national guidance and are not believed to be offering similar payments to their bank staff. The Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust’s move could potentially ignite discussions about bank staff compensation and inspire a shift in the current national approach.
The Workers Union Says…
“This decision by Northumbria may indeed spark conversations about the compensation and benefits provided to bank staff across the NHS. As the needs of healthcare institutions evolve, particularly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath, the value of flexible staffing models has become increasingly apparent. Recognizing the contributions of these staff could lead to improved morale, greater staff retention, and potentially better patient care. If successful, this approach could lead to a more inclusive approach to staff rewards and recognition, promoting a sense of fairness and equality across all workers in the NHS, regardless of their contract status. It’s also important to note the role of the Workers Union in this context, who applaud this move and hope to see similar initiatives across the sector”.