Published: 05/12/2002, Volume112 No. 5834 Page 4

Department of Health briefings last week focused on 'headline' groups of staff such as nurses, who are expected to gain around 16 per cent over three years from a combination of the three-year, 10 per cent deal and gains from the new system.

But media at a DoH press conference were eagerly searching for NHS workers who might make 40 per cent out of the package - in line with the firefighters' claim.

Speculation centred on healthcare assistants, who currently hit a pay ceiling of£13,485. DoH officials said last week that under Agenda for Change, they could take on some nursing tasks and 'have the potential to earn up to£17,500' in band 4.

But one HSJ source said: 'The vast majority of HCAs will not necessarily make it.'

Because staff often do varied jobs under similar job titles, many would not fit the obvious profile, the source suggested, 'the potential for mass appeals is interesting'.

Paramedics, who could gain substantial unsocial hours payments of 9-25 per cent, are also in the spotlight. 'Potentially, paramedics do very well, ' a source said. 'The job profiles could do them quite well, their hours are cut from 39 to 37.5 and they will get unsocial hours payments [for the first time].'

D-grade nurses and most of Egrade will find themselves in band 5, with F-grade midwives and other specialists in band 6.

Ward sisters/ward managers will fall into band 7, with nurse consultants and managers in band 8, which has four 'ranges'.

In addition to gains from assimilation into the new system, some staff will see an improvement in long-term career earnings as band ceilings are higher.

The DoH estimates that 8 per cent of staff will be 'losers', in need of pay protection or having their jobs 'developed'. But London staff will be boosted with weighting that could reach£5,000.

And though there is no difference to be seen in the bands at present, non-pay review groups will remain on a separate spine to pay review staff, so their future pay bill can be better controlled, in a move understood to be driven by the Treasury.

In instalments: what's the deal for NHS staff?

Agenda for Change is linked with a 10 per cent pay deal over three years, in three 3.225 per cent instalments.The first instalment is all most staff will get from the new deal until October 2004.Most managers are expected to fall within the four ranges of band 8.

Pay bands Band 1£10,100-£11,100 Band 2£10,800-£13,400 Band 3£12,450-£14,900 Band 4£14,550-£17,500 Band 5£17,000-£22,000 Band 6£20,300-£27,500 Band 7£24,500-£32,300 Band 8 range A:£31,250-£37,500 range B:£35,400-£45,000 range C:£43,800-£54,000 range D:£52,500-£65,000 Plus London weighting,£3,000-£5,000 in inner London,£2,500-£3,500 in outer London and£750-£1,300 in fringe areas.

Unsocial hours payments for staff in bands 1-7 of from 9 per cent of basic to 25 per cent of basic, depending on hours worked outside 7am7pm on weekdays or on weekends or bank holidays.Staff in band 8 can earn 9-10 per cent from working outside 7am-10pm on weekdays, after 1pm at weekends or on bank holidays.

On-call payments of up to 9.5 per cent of basic for a one-in-three oncall pattern.

Recruitment and retention premiums to cope with labour market pressures - up to 30 per cent of basic.

A 37.5-hour week with 27 days'annual leave (more for long service).

Early implementers lJames Paget Healthcare trust lGuy's and St Thomas'Hospital trust lCity Hospitals Sunderland trust lPapworth Hospital trust lAintree Hospitals trust lAvon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership trust lSouth West London and St George's Mental Health trust lWest Kent Social Care trust lHerefordshire PCT lCentral Cheshire PCT lNorth East Ambulance Service trust lEast Anglian Ambulance trust