Staff working for foundation trusts are at risk of compulsory redundancy because of the impending public sector spending squeeze, a leaked report suggests.

An internal briefing produced by the Foundation Trust Network, leaked to the union Unison and seen by HSJ, proposes a host of radical changes to current employment conditions for NHS staff. It is based on a survey of the network’s members.

The document says there is now widespread recognition that natural wastage of jobs will fail to give the shape of workforce and skill mix required to sustain patient services in future, and that redundancies are likely to be needed – with the best case option being local voluntary agreements.

The document includes a list of 17 changes foundation trust employers wish the government to pursue to reduce workforce costs. These include:

  • freezing increments on pay progression for two to three years 
  • reducing the number of pay points on Agenda for Change bands
  • changing schedule K so that staff members are not able to opt back in to Agenda for Change after accepting local arrangements
  • ensuring robust sickness management
  • making clear the NHS will not be able to offer employment to every trainee
  • capping pensions for higher earners (over £100,000) and looking at removing other pensionable items such as London weighting
  • ending clinical excellence awards

The document says: “Foundation trusts do not believe that, in the economic climate and given the system and reconfiguration challenges they are facing, it will be possible to offer any guarantees that compulsory redundancies will not be required. 

“However, all foundation trusts will want to fulfil their responsibilities as good employers in supporting staff to find suitable alternative employment in partnership with the local health economy as a whole.”

The leak was made public ahead of talks between unions and the employer representatives over the possibility of agreeing grater flexible working practices in return for protecting jobs.

Unison senior national officer for health Mike Jackson said: “It is clear that the Foundation Trust Network have a lengthy shopping list of damaging NHS cuts and so-called reforms that will do nothing to improve patient care or the lives of NHS workers.”

He said: “This is a bizarre way to deal with the challenges facing the NHS. The FTN has its own agenda and plans to try and torpedo today’s discussions.”