Tuesday, 5 June 2012
Well, the government have decided that, unlike their investment banker chummers, all of us public sector employees are money grabbing lazy blighters who're paid over the odds and are blessed with too many benefits. As such they've decided to take things in hand.
My remuneration package in the NHS isn't a secret. I'm at the top of Band 6 of the Agenda for Change payscale so you can look it up if you like. But just to save you the bother let me disclose that I earn a salary just shy of £35,000, have a leave entitlement of 33 days plus the public holidays and there is a generous pension scheme and a few other benefits to boot. 'That's not at all bad!' I hear some of my followers cry and let me state categorically that I'm with you on this. But I've also worked in a prestigious graduate entry job in the private financial sector. If I'd stayed there it's likely that I'd be earning more than a smidgen extra with less risk and responsibility. Surprise, surprise the work that I do now, assessing and treating older people with dementia, depression, anxiety and the occasional psychosis, involves much more nouse than unraveling the intricacies of a tax system. And I'm not expecting promotion as a reward for my work anytime soon. The vagaries of the organisation mean that I've reached the ceiling in terms of progression if I want to stay working on the frontline as a clinician.
So it is with dismay that I've heard that the trial of implementing regional pay could see reductions in my salary of 15% along with cuts in terms and conditions and benefits too. Isn't someone forgetting that the South West, thanks to it being the playground of those Hooray Henries coming up with these brilliant money saving ideas, is an area where living costs and housing costs are above the national average? Now I envisage that a lot of public employees will see no choice but to accept these reductions once they've held those strikes that bring nothing but disparagement from those career politicians. A spell at Exeter University in the '80s leaves me in no doubt that the masses, even those who've worked hard and have donned the mortarboard and gown, are still seen as subordinate serfs to be manipulated by the privileged few. But I'm not going to doff my cap to my betters. I'll walk and use my skills elsewhere, hopefully in a way where I can still be of benefit to those illnesses that I currently work with.. It's a sad fact when someone who believes that a strong National Health Service is one of our country's greatest aspects, hopes that many of my talented and committed colleagues won't roll over and give in but will follow me our of the door and see what difference we can make by being our own bosses in the private sector.