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HSJ’s 10 most read workforce stories of 2022

Published on: 28 Dec 2022

Here is a rundown of HSJ’s most read workforce stories in 2022

‘Final straw’ as band 8 and 9 staff get ‘disgusting’ pay rise

This autumn saw a number of unions successfully ballot their members for strike action in response to the government’s pay awards for the year. However, looking back to the summer, immediately after the pay announcements were made, it was band 8 and 9 staff who were voicing their discontent. Some of those in these bands stood to receive a pay rise of just 1.3 per cent, while very senior managers were set to receive a 3.5 per cent uplift. 

6,000-plus jobs to be cut at ‘new NHS England’

In July, it was announced 30-40 per cent of posts across NHSE, Health Education England and NHS Digital – which are in the process of merging – would be cut over the course of the next year. With around 20,000 roles across the organisations at the time of the announcement, this would amount to between 6,000 and 8,000 positions.

Band 8 staff face cut in take-home pay

Further issues with pay awards emerged in September, with NHSE warning some band 8a staff they would see a fall in their take-home pay. This was because their increased salary had pushed them into a higher pension contribution tier, but their back pay was not sufficient enough to cover the arrears accrued. Jon Restell, chief executive of Managers in Partnership, told HSJ there were “too many disincentives for band 7 staff to progress to band 8a,” which could “deter” staff from seeking promotion.

Pension contributions overhaul from October will avoid pay cut

The Department of Health and Social Care announced in September it would be going forward with proposed changes to the NHS pension scheme, which would mean the contribution tiers moved in line with the annual pay awards. Although these changes had been under discussion for about a year at this point and would not change the situation which transpired for some of those in band 8a earlier that month, it should mean nobody faces a pay cut because their salary has pushed them up a contribution tier in the future.

‘We have done our own risk assessments’: the NHS staff defying the vaccine mandate

As NHS staff faced the prospect of losing their job if they weren’t vaccinated for covid, workers from Queen’s Hospital in Romford, east London, and members of their local community protested against the mandate in January. HSJ’s Nick Kituno spoke to some of the staff protesting there, who told him they were disappointed by the “blanket” treatment of healthcare decisions and “brute force” approach the government had taken. 

Government U-turns on mandatory staff vaccination in ‘shambles’

Towards the end of January, the government scrapped its plans requiring health and care staff to be vaccinated against covid, just days before the deadline unvaccinated staff had for getting their first jab. Senior leaders branded the last-minute change as “shambles” and a “mess”.

National chief people officer to step down

In March, an NHSE internal announcement revealed chief people officer Prerana Issar would be stepping down from her role, with deputy chief people officer Em Wilkinson-Brice stepping in as interim. HSJ understood Ms Issar had been on sick leave since mid-December after she caught covid. She joined NHSE in April 2019, having previously been director of the United Nations World Food Programme.

NHS to begin move to dismiss staff who refuse covid vaccine or redeployment

At the very start of the year, trusts were issued marching orders for dismissing those staff who needed to be vaccinated against covid-19 but had not been. While the guidance was still in the pipeline at the time of this article, HSJ understood it made clear that, while the preferred course of action was to redeploy unvaccinated staff into non-patient-facing roles, some people would need to be dismissed and trusts would need to be prepared to do this from February. 

CEO of national NHS agency resigns ahead of CQC report

NHS Blood and Transplant’s chief executive Betsy Bassis announced her resignation, which took place with immediate effect, in August. This followed several concerns being raised about the culture of the agency, including a review being carried out after bullying and harassment allegations were made against its leaders. Ms Bassis had been NHSBT’s CEO since March 2019. 

No payments for unvaccinated staff, trusts told as NHS prepares for dismissals

In another story from the very start of the year on the mandatory coronavirus vaccination for health and care staff, it was revealed those staff being dismissed because they were not vaccinated against covid would not be entitled to receive an exit payment. The guidance from NHSE explained: “The general principles which apply in a redundancy exercise are not applicable here”.