Nurses ‘owed £5m’ after pay blunder

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Hundreds of Cumbernauld and Kilsyth nurses are owed holiday pay stretching back to 2008 – in a pay blunder set to cost NHS Lanarkshire millions.

It’s understood as much as £5 million could be owed in holiday back pay to local nurses while NHS Lanarkshire nurses already known to have been underpaid are said to be owed around £1.5million.

The blunder follows an apparent failure to recognise the detail of new rules on pay introduced in 2008, which mean that nurses on leave retain antisocial hours allowances on the same basis as when they are at work.

A report suggests that in NHS Glasgow and Clyde some £2 million has been paid to 3,000 nursing staff who are members of the union Unison.

The union has called into question how the errors were made, while NHS Lanarkshire has blamed “complexity” of the new rules for its mistakes.

It’s claimed NHS Lanarkshire owe £1.5 million to just under 1,500 staff.

However a report claiming 3,300 more cases are still to be heard means the final bill could be £5m.

The Scottish Government has said it expects pay commitments to be honoured.

An NHS Lanarkshire spokesperson told the News: “The NHS has always recognised the requirement to pay staff as if at work.

“Revised guidance on how to do this was issued and implemented in 2008.

“While staff continued to receive payment for enhancements during leave after that date, internal investigations found that complexities in calculating this meant some staff were not always receiving an amount that fully reflected their pattern of working enhanced hours.”

“NHS Lanarkshire has worked closely with staff side to find the best way to address what can be a complicated area and new guidance was issued at the start of 2014.

“We are currently reviewing the pay of each staff member potentially affected, making back payments to October 2008 where these are found to be due.

“This has been factored into our financial plans.”

Several other health boards across Scotland are conducting reviews into the pay issue, amid union scepticism about how the NHS pay system failed in the wake of the new rules – and several local area NHS reviews are ongoing to determine the level of arrears.