MPs and 14 health unions have agreed a major new pay deal for over 1 million NHS staff across the UK.
The government first announced it would lift the public sector 1% pay cap for various sectors back in September. Mr Hammond then then followed that announcement with a promise, in the autumn Budget, that NHS staff pay would be looked at in 2018, a year earlier than planned.
However, when no mention of a pay review came in Phillip Hammond’s the spring statement earlier this month, despite some positive news around the UK deficit falling, there was scepticism as to whether the pay deal would ever be honoured
So, what does the deal include?
The deal is complex and is largely dependent upon which pay band workers fall into, with the lowest paid workers due to receive the biggest raises. Around half of the 1.3 Million workers will receive a 6.5% pay rise over the next three years, with the other half receiving between 9% and 29%. The lowest full time salary will rise by 15%, to more than £18,00 and brings NHS workers above the living wage of £8.75 per hour after ministers agreed to scrap the lowest pay band for nurses, hospital cleaners and more than a million other staff. A nurse with one year’s experience would see their basic pay rise by 21% over three years, giving them a salary of up to £27,400.
Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said “To support long-term attraction and recruitment, starting salaries for all our non-medical staff groups will also see increases, which will help to make these roles more attractive for people considering a career in the largest employer in Europe.”
Sara Gorton, lead negotiator for the 14 health unions, said: “The agreement means an end at last to the Government’s self-defeating and unfair 1% pay cap.
“It won’t solve every problem in the NHS, but would go a long way towards making dedicated health staff feel more valued, lift flagging morale, and help turn the tide on employers’ staffing problems.
“If health workers accept the offer, everyone’s wages will go further, and the lowest paid would get a significant income boost. Starting salaries for nurses, midwives and other health professionals would also become more attractive to people considering a career in the NHS.”
Health unions will now consult with their members over the pay offer, with the results known in June, with pay due to increase from July and back dated to April. If the agreement is accepted, the extra funding for English health budgets will go through the Barnett formula into budgets in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. At present the deal covers NHS workers in England but is expected to be mirrored in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.