The popular Health Secretary has told NHS pay review bodies that even the capped public sector 1% pay increase is unaffordable.
“Paying these spongers what we’ve already agreed to would cost us much more than we previously estimated, if my abacus is correct” said Jeremy Hunt, the well-known typing error.
“But once we’d fired up the Amstrad PCW8512 and crunched most of the numbers, we knew we’d dropped a right bollock.”
Health trusts are under pressure from the Treasury to make big savings, with the Chancellor, heir-apparent to the Osborne baronetcy, determined to do away with the get-something-for-nothing culture in the public sector. The NHS wage bill accounts for some 40% of the budget and Hunt is confident there is still fat to be cut. “We could save around £700m by welching on earlier arrangements, monies that should more rightly be focused on the treatment of patients, rather than mollycoddling the staff.”
“With that sort of money we could offer more competitive employment conditions and attract applications for the vacancies that we expect to arise as a result of this reduction in employment conditions. Four more years of such savings and we’re on our way to recouping the costs of the reorganisation no-one but us knew about before the last election. You, know, the one without any financial provision made.”
Hunt explained that the current system of pay increments, based on experience and performance, is seriously flawed. “With an almost flat career pyramid it just encourages existing staff to stay on, year after year, simply gaining expertise at public expense. And who benefits from that cosy little set-up? Aha, no-one wants to answer that one do they?”
“What we want to do first is to modernise the pay structure and after much careful thought I decided over breakfast this morning that it would be fairest to fund this modernisation out of the employees’ wages.” In response to concerns raised by various staff NHS groups Hunt added “It’s much too early to say if ‘modernise’ will mean the same as ‘pay-cut’ or ‘privatise’.”
“Next, we want to move on to 7-day a week opening across the board, just as you’d expect from your local Kwik-Fit. And funnily enough, they’re the preferred bidder on the first pilot privatised GP service. You’ll only ever have to wait ‘about 20 minutes mate’ although they’ve promised their waiting areas will have a TV on very loud and a coffee machine that might sometimes work.”