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The SoR welcomes NI's payment offer but does not come close to addressing the needs of radiographers

 


The SoR has welcomed a pay offer from the Northern Ireland executive that will bring pay scales in line with England, but warns that this is just a starting point that does not address wider issues.

The pay offer offers a consolidated pay offer of 5 per cent which dates to April 2023, as well as an unconsolidated amount of up to £1,505 for staff on Agenda for Change contracts who worked at the HSC during 2023-2024.

'An important first step'

Cora Regan, Northern Ireland National Officer for the Society, said: “The Society of Radiographers is delighted that a pay offer has finally been made for public sector workers in Northern Ireland. It is an important first step – but it does not come close to recognizing the needs of our members and the needs of the radiography profession as a whole.”

Ms Regan explained that radiographers, along with other public sector workers, have waited a long time for this paid award.

“Now, as we start the 2024-25 pay review, they will at least be at the same starting point as their colleagues in England. However, make no mistake: this is not a good starting point. It's simply better than it used to be – when radiographers in Northern Ireland were the highest paid in the UK,” she said.

“This offer is not a good offer either: it is below inflation, and therefore simply widens the pay gap that has built up over the last 15 years. The wage offer also includes a one-time payment that will have no long-term benefit for families struggling to plan for the future during a cost-of-living crisis.

'brain drain'

Radiography professionals support nine out of 10 patients in Health and Social Care Northern Ireland (HSC). They work in diagnostic services, performing X-rays, MRI and CT scans, and in therapeutic services, planning and delivering radiotherapy to cancer patients.

As a result, the HSC is struggling to recruit and retain radiographers, meaning 188,850 people in Northern Ireland – nearly 10 per cent of the population – are now waiting for a diagnostic test. This wait means treatment such as radiotherapy is delayed and cases become more complex – and, for some patients, even a two-week delay can mean the difference between life and death.

Mrs. Regan added:[This pay offer] will do nothing to stop the brain drain of radiographers to the Republic of Ireland, where the starting salary for a Band 5 radiographer will still be more than £5,000 higher than in Northern Ireland. If radiography professionals living near the border can work in a hospital 20 minutes' drive away and earn £5,000 more, why would they choose to work in Northern Ireland?”

'Political and budgetary instability'

The SoR has highlighted its concerns in its submission to the NHS Pay Review Body in England and Wales. The Society will discuss the situation in Northern Ireland in its oral evidence and in a submission to the Northern Ireland assembly.

Robin Swann, Northern Ireland's health minister, said: “I said on taking office that my first priority was to get staff paid. This is a positive step in that direction and I welcome the constructive negotiations that have taken place. trade unions representing Agenda for Change staff.

“Unions will now vote their members and I want them to be given the time and space for this to happen. Staff are the backbone of health and social care services and deserve to be properly rewarded for their work.

“Staff salary payments for 2023/24 are long overdue, having been delayed by political and budgetary instability.”

In January, SoR members participated in a “Generalized Day of Action” across the public sector, including health, education, the civil service and others, in the hope of breaking the “political deadlock” in the region over the topic of wages.

(Image: Cora Regan)

Sources

1/ https://Google.com/

2/ https://www.sor.org/news/government-nhs/sor-welcomes-ni-pay-offer-but-it-doesnt-come-cl

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