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The silent pre-registration salary cut

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The current controversy over locumpay cuts led me to consider the community pre-registration salary.  It has remained practically unchanged forsome years now.  Pay which doesn'tincrease is decreasing, thanks to the forces of inflation.

The PSNCwebsite states that the last time the pre-registration training grantprovided to community pharmacies increased was in October 2008, when itincreased from £16,440 to £18,440.  Asthe community pre-registration salary is closely linked to the training grantI'll be using this figure as a close proxy of actual community pre-registrationsalary.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) isa measure of inflation.  In October 2008the CPI index was at 110.4; in January 2012 it was at 119.4.  If you do the maths you find that £18,440 in October2008 is now worth £17,050.  Effectively, community pre-registrationpharmacists have had a £1,390 drop in real-term pay.  That's a 7.5% nominal decrease, or a 2.4%annual pay cut.

There isn't much appetite for payincreases in the current climate.  Andwith youth unemployment so high many would say students should think themselveslucky that they have a job.  But afterthis period of austerity is over, it would seem sensible to link the pre-registrationtraining grant to inflation.  The current seemingly ad-hoc,arbitrary increases are unfair and irrational.

Hospital pre-registrationsalaries are determined in a much fairer and more considered way.  Pre-registration students are paid at band 5according to the Agenda for Change pay scales which are reviewed every year by theindependent NHS pay review body.  From2008 to 2011 the hospital pre-registration salary increased by 4.7% (1.5% annually)from £20,225 to £21,176.

It's important to remember thatwhile pre-registration students may not be qualified they still add significantvalue to a pharmacy.  Students havereported feeling the effects of this, with 36.5% overloaded with work.

Without action the communitypre-registration salary, and the people they represent, will only become more devalued.  Had the decrease in salary not been hiddenbehind the veil of inflation I doubt it would be tolerated.  Linking the training grant to inflation islong overdue.

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From: Tomorrow's pharmacist blog

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