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Pay rise for public health staff confirmed

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Staff on Agenda for Change contracts providing council commissioned services will have their pay rise fully funded by the Treasury, Health Service Journal has learned.

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The Department of Health & Social Care confirmed staff employed to deliver public health services commissioned by local authorities, such as health visitors and sexual health workers, will be covered by last month’s pay deal.

The confirmation has followed concerns raised to HSJ by senior sources at community services trusts that council-commissioned services might not be included in the AfC deal.

The DHSC has said the money to fund the payrise will come directly from the Treasury, and not public health funds.

Ministers and trade unions announced the deal to reform the Agenda for Change pay framework last month, which will be fully funded by the Treasury at a cost of £4.2bn.

Phillippa Hentsch, head of analysis at NHS Providers, said uncertainty around whether the deal applied to all AfC staff had been a “significant concern for trusts, particularly those providing community services”.

She said: “We welcome this confirmation that the decision to fully fund the pay award for all Agenda for Change staff – including those commissioned by non-NHS bodies such as local authorities – is being followed through.”

The DHSC also confirmed funding would be directly allocated to the organisations required to make the contractual changes.

Ms Hentsch said: “It is also good that the funding for this proposed deal in 2018-19 will be allocated directly. This is important in terms of transparency and ensuring that the money gets through to the front line.

“We now want to see similar assurances for subsequent years of the proposed pay agreement. Trusts are under enormous financial pressure and it is vital that they are not left to foot the bill.”

The DHSC said the mechanism for delivering funding from 2019-20 is under consideration.

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