Nurses on bank shifts faced ‘hardship’ after trust switched to weekly payments

Unison says some staff at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead found their pay heavily taxed

Unison says some staff at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead found their pay heavily taxed

Picture: iStock

A hospital trust has apologised after a change in pay ‘caused hardship’ for some nurses who took on extra shifts over the busy winter period.

The small number of nurses who volunteered to work bank shifts in addition to their normal hours at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead were paid weekly for the extra work. 

The hospital introduced this new payment method because it was thought to be faster and more convenient for nurses working extra shifts.   

Erratic pay

But confusing tax rules meant that nurses were paid more than they were expecting in some weeks, but in other weeks were ‘heavily taxed’, according to Unison regional organiser Peter Chapman.

While no nurses lost out on pay overall, the situation caused hardship during the weeks when pay packets were lighter, said Mr Chapman.

‘It’s an incompetence issue more than anything else. It’s just been a genuine error on the trust’s behalf,’ he added.

Unison said it was working with the trust to rectify the situation to ‘ensure that the correct amount of money has been paid to people’.

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust has now returned to monthly payments for bank shifts, and has made interim payments to nurses who have been affected. 

The trust’s director of nursing, midwifery and quality Hilary Lloyd acknowledged that the situation made it ‘more difficult for people to budget or understand how much they are getting paid week to week’.

Listening to staff

Ms Lloyd added: ‘This issue affects a small number of nursing staff, but we understand this has been confusing and we’ve been doing everything we can to try and explain the issues they may have experienced. 

‘Because of the complexity and confusion, and after listening to staff, we have now decided to stop weekly payments and return to monthly ones that many staff are familiar with.

‘We apologise for any confusion or distress this may have caused.’

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