WORKFORCE: Northern Devon Healthcare Trust has become the second organisation to pull out of the South West Pay Consortium.

In a statement the trust said it would now be concentrating on implementing the recent nationally agreed changes to Agenda for Change terms and conditions in a “fair and consistent way”.

The latest move comes after the consortium withdrawn its previous threat of breaking away from the national Agenda for Change pay deal – on the condition that unions and employers get back round the table for new negotiations to cut staff pay. The consortium has proposed further changes to pay, terms and conditions that can be made within the existing AfC framework.

Northern Devon chair Roger French said: “In the limited time we have had to review the consortium’s proposals, it is the board’s very firm view that we will not take forward any proposal which takes our staff out of nationally-agreed terms and conditions.

“We are delighted to have received firm commitments from all the trade union representatives to work with us on exploring those proposals that implement efficiencies within existing nationally-agreed pay, terms and conditions.

“The challenge of securing high-quality, sustainable services at a time of extreme financial constraint in the NHS will require meaningful discussions with our staff. We want to be able to face this challenge knowing that we have the support and goodwill of staff to work in partnership with us.”

The decision by Northern Devon’s board means Devon Partnership Trust, Plymouth Hospitals Trust and Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust are only NHS organisations in the county still in the consortium. Acute provider South Devon Healthcare Foundation Trust and community and social care provider Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care Trust never joined the group.

Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Foundation Trust was the first of the original 20 members to pull out in November last year.