Hospices have said they will have to find £100m over the next three years to match a pay rise for NHS staff – but many will not be eligible to access a government fund set up to pay for it.
Non-doctors who work in the NHS are paid according to a scale called Agenda for Change, The government has agreed a deal which means staff on this scale will see salaries rise anything from 4.5 per cent to 29 per cent over the next three years.
The government has put aside £800m this year to pay for the increase but it is only open to organisations which match the Agenda for Change pay scales exactly.
Most hospices use the scale as a guide for paying staff but do not match it exactly, meaning they are not likely to be eligible.
A joint warning published today by Hospice UK, Together for Short Lives and Marie Curie has said the pay rise could "have a damaging impact on charitable hospices in England and put vital services at risk unless they receive financial help to meet extra costs for hospice staff".
Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive of Hospice UK, said: “While we strongly support the pay award for hardworking NHS staff, we are very concerned about the wider impact of this on charitable hospices in England.
“This decision by the government to restrict funding for non-NHS providers to only those organisations that follow Agenda for Change terms and conditions to the letter is very worrying and will have a very damaging impact on charitable hospices.
“Most hospices use NHS terms and conditions as guidance for their local pay policies rather than matching their terms and policies exactly. To recruit and retain staff, hospices will have little choice other than following the pay rises for the NHS, so many hospices will be left severely out of pocket.
“Hospice UK will continue to push for more support for charitable hospices and we remain open to further discussions with the government to find a way forward.”