Chief Executive’s notes

HCSA General Secretary Eddie Saville casts his eye over some of the latest issues

Year in review
A Happy New Year to all HCSA members. Last year proved to be one filled with conflict with employers and government, and for us industrial action on pay earlier in the year.

The discussions and proposals on a new consultants’ contract dominated 2015 with the dispute over the doctors in training contract taking up many media column inches for much of the latter portion.

The new government has set out its stall in terms of the Trade Union Bill and we will continue to press for change.

The year also saw wide coverage of our stress findings, which showed only too well how workplace pressures are impacting on the lives of consultants at work and home.

On a positive note we are pleased to be able to start 2016 by welcoming two new national officers to HCSA.

Richard Wilde and Andrew Jordan come to us with a wealth of trade union experience and will be based in the Midlands. We are delighted that they are joining us and will I am sure be keen to meet with as many members as possible as they begin what I hope will be long careers at the association, promoting and protecting the interests of all members.

If you would like Richard or Andrew or any of our national officers to visit your hospital, please contact us at headquarters and this will be readily arranged.

Pension threat
Pensions are always an issue on the agenda and recently I, along with other trade union colleagues, met with Treasury Minister David Gauke to discuss new proposals laid out in a government green paper.

These include forthcoming changes to the annual allowance and lifetime allowance which have already created uncertainty and instability and are having a negative impact on pensions saving.

We have joined forces with trade unions and professional bodies representing airline pilots, head teachers, senior civil servants, chief police officers, principal fire officers, and senior NHS managers to highlight our concerns.

If implemented, some of the ideas outlined in the green paper – such as reducing or abolishing higher rate tax relief or moving from upfront tax relief to a workplace ISA-type arrangement – would make the above situation even worse and encourage even more of our members to reduce pensions saving or even pull out of pensions altogether.

We have already responded to the green paper and our joint response can be found on our website.

A better deal for hospital doctors
Consultant contract negotiations are nearing their conclusion and as you read this we expect a final set of proposals to be published. These are likely to include proposals to change pay scales, clinical excellence awards, the method of pay progression, and unsocial hours, and the safeguards that the HCSA has been calling for.

As we start a new year now is the time to join the HCSA and help us to campaign for a better deal for hospital doctors.