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Scottish government asked to act on Agenda for Change review

Colin Poolman 23 Jan 2024

Delays on funding and implementation are 'frustrating and disappointing'.

Image of a pay slip
In May you narrowly voted to accept the NHS Scotland pay offer. At that time, we made it clear to Scottish government that it would need to stay committed to the Agenda for Change review, which was part of the deal. We said it was essential that the review delivered positive change for our members on the reduced working week, protected time for learning and the review of Band 5 nursing roles. 

Eight months on from your acceptance of the deal, and after a considerable amount of work, the Scottish government is showing signs of a lack of commitment to the review.  

Over the summer and autumn, we worked with colleagues from the other health trade unions, NHS employers and Scottish government officials to develop and agree implementation plans for these three elements of the review. These plans were submitted to the Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care at the end of November.

We are hugely disappointed and frustrated, as I know you are, that the Cabinet Secretary has not yet responded to the recommendations from the review and we are still waiting for the timetable for implementation.

Last week I wrote again to the Cabinet Secretary setting out your concerns. I asked for urgent reassurance that the Scottish government will deliver on its commitments to our profession.

The RCN Scotland board also met last week to discuss the lack of progress and to consider how best to make this frustration and disappointment heard. They shared your concerns about the government's inaction and apprehension of what this might mean for the forthcoming negotiations for NHS Agenda for Change pay in 2024/25.

Along with our colleagues from the other NHS staff side trade unions, I have urged the Cabinet Secretary to waste no more time and to confirm the timetable for full implementation of these vital elements of the pay deal and to ensure he follows through on the promises the Scottish government has made.

We will continue to press the Scottish government for action and to keep members informed on progress.

 You may also be interested in these related news stories on the Agenda for Change review and the Scottish government's budget announcement in December last year. 


Colin Poolman

Colin Poolman

RCN Scotland Director

Page last updated - 23/01/2024