HEALTH unions and politicians have reacted furiously to plans to pay NHS staff in Sheffield less than those in the affluent south.
Health secretary Andrew Lansley wants nurses, midwives, porters, cleaners and paramedics to receive different pay packets dependent on where they live.
But senior managers pushing through Mr Lansley’s controversial health reforms would be exempt from the plans, and will receive the same pay regardless of their living costs.
More than 22,000 NHS workers in Sheffield - along with thousands more in Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster - would be paid less than their southern counterparts if the plans go through.
Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield said: “I’ll be challenging Andrew Lansley today to come up to Sheffield and explain face-to-face to our nurses and doctors why he thinks they should be paid less than their NHS colleagues in Surrey for the same jobs.
“Regional pay could create a brain drain as the best health professionals, like the top NHS surgeons, will move south to get the best paid jobs.”
Charlie Carruth, Sheffield organiser for the Unison trade union, said: “The suggestion is driven by ideology and simply does not make good financial sense.
“For lower-paid folk essentials like food and fuel, heating and lighting are paid for first - and the cost of these does not vary by region.”
Mr Lansley’s submission to the NHS pay review body said: “Current rates of pay in the NHS do vary geographically, but significantly less so than the pay of comparable staff in the private sector.’’