The Scottish Office has told trusts they must make their own arrangements for dealing with millennium events in the face of union calls for a Scotland- wide agreement on pay.

Unison is calling for guaranteed additional payments for all staff asked to work over new year 1999-2000.

Senior regional officer Jim Devine said: 'I have heard of bouncers at clubs who are being offered£1,000 to work over the millennium.

'Yet nurses and other health workers who may be engaged in an unknown situation if the millennium bug affects life-support machines are being asked to work as normal.'

The issue of 'millennium money' was raised after Unison revealed that trusts are already issuing memos cancelling all leave for intensive care staff over 1999-2000.

'We are calling for a Scotland-wide solution to this problem and are concerned the Scottish Office believe a trust-by-trust solution is going to be workable,' said Mr Devine.

'Patient safety may be being jeopardised without a broad response from the Scottish Office, and we believe conditions for working during this period need to be tackled at Scottish Office level.'

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Office said: 'It is up to each trust to make contingency plans for the millennium and there will be no centralised instructions from government.

'However, nearer the time the Scottish Office will issue a request for confirmation that suitable contingency planning has been made and implemented.'

She confirmed that this also meant the Scottish Office had no plans to issue guidance on human resource issues to match guidance recently sent to English trusts.

A spokesperson for Aberdeen Royal Hospitals trust said:

'We have been planning for this for a couple of years and are liaising with the police, the local authorities and other organisations so we have an integrated response.

'We feel that we will have done all we can to ensure that we have taken all precautions for this period.'

A spokesperson for Stirling Royal Infirmary trust said: 'Our shared objective with the staff is to be in the best possible position to maintain... a safe environment for patients and staff.

'The hospital always rosters the relevant staff required on any public holiday. We are never closed.'

He added that the hospital would be 'working closely' with staff to minimise problems.

See News Focus, page 16.