SW NHS pay cartel reveals its poisonous nature

Just occasionally, you come across something so remarkable that it’s almost hard to believe it’s actually true.

I’ve written many times about the ‘South West Pay, Terms and Conditions Consortium’ (SWC) – a cartel of NHS Trusts formed with the specific aim of driving down the earnings of all NHS workers across a wide part of south-west England. I (and others) have exposed the callousness, deviousness and ambition of this de facto cartel, and unquestionably it is a Very Bad Thing for patients and staff – and for all of us who care about the NHS.

The SWC once slipped and accidentally admitted that it’s a cartel, but on the whole its public stance has been to deny that it is any such thing – and to claim that its aims are for the good of staff and patients (even though its promise to protect employment has been exposed as a cynical sham).

However, it appears that someone within the cartel has a very clear understanding of what the cartel is – and a twisted sense of honesty about it.

Some months ago, the SWC set up a website to mislead inform people about its progress and plans: meetingthechallenge.info. As is the way with such things, the website needed to have a contact address for anyone submitting questions, reporting site errors etc. The address set up for the SWC website was:


as this excerpt from an FOI request sent last month to Poole NHS Trust, the lead Trust of the SWC, shows:


‘Pernicious is defined as: ‘Having a deadly or harmful effect, especially in a subtle way‘. A viper, just in case you don’t know, is a poisonous snake whose venom works by thickening the blood until it stops flowing, so that organs cease to function and the victim dies a painful death. This Youtube video shows just what happens to blood after a single drop of viper venom is added:

After not too long a time, someone at the SWC noticed the email that was being used and took it down. As far as I can now tell, the cartel’s site no longer offers any kind of contact email address at all. ‘Better safe than sorry’, perhaps.

But choosing this email address in the first place goes way beyond a Freudian slip. It’s a perfect description of the nature of this cartel – which other Trusts and groups of Trusts are apparently watching as a potential role model.

If it is successful in its aims, it will suck life and vitality from the staff in its hospitals, causing key ‘organs’ providing healthcare to break down and cease to function as they should – a disaster for health-workers and the patients they care for. But it is working hard to try to disguise its true nature, presenting itself as an organisation with the best interests of patients and staff at heart. But the truth will out one way or another – and this email address is one way.

The cartel must be stopped, for everyone’s sake – and not just in the south-west.


  1. The(?) cartel exists as a parasite, it feeds off the body social. But then anything born from the tory/whig condem sperm will grow to nothing more.

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