More Than a Million NHS Staff Members Receive Pay Rise

More Than a Million NHS Staff Members Receive Pay Rise
A hospital in the United Kingdom in an undated file photo. (Victoria Jones/PA)
Evgenia Filimianova

The UK Department of Health announced increased salaries for NHS staff on Thursday, following months of negotiations between unions and the government.

Under the new rules, health care professionals and staff will receive a 5 percent consolidated increase in pay, backdated to April. This includes eligible employees on the Agenda for Change contract (AfC), which is the national pay system for most NHS staff except doctors, dentists, and most senior managers.

Newly qualified nurses will see their salary rise by more than £2,750 over the next two years. In addition, they will receive over £1,890 in one-off payments this year.

The government also rolled out a tiered “backlog bonus” payment for all staff based on the individual’s experience and pay band. The average nurse will receive a bonus payment of £1,350.

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay welcomed the deal, commending NHS staff for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re giving nurses, paramedics, physiotherapists, and other eligible staff a fair pay rise, which will see for example, band six staff getting an extra £5,000 over two years.

“We hugely value the work of NHS staff and the vital role they’re playing to cut waiting lists, which is one of the government’s five priorities, and recognises the work they put in day in and day out,” Barclay said.

NHS staff went on numerous strikes in the past few years, demanding that the government makes improved pay offers. The negotiations between trade unions and the government culminated in Barclay’s announcement of pay rises on May 2.

The new deal will see all eligible AfC staff receive a non-consolidated award of 2 percent of an individual’s salary for 2022 to 2023. The lowest paid NHS staff will get a pay uplift, with all those in band one, such as drivers and nursery assistants, and band two, such as domestic support workers and security officers, having their pay raised to the same level.

Further Negotiations

In response to the current deal, health and social care leaders have warned that it excludes non-statutory organisations delivering NHS services, such as primary care services and nursing and care homes.

In a letter to Barclay, leaders from the NHS Confederation and NHS Providers said that such organisations will be forced to cover costs from their own existing budgets.

The struggle to cover the pay uplift without central funding will endanger services such as district nurses, school nurses, therapists, sexual health services, obesity services, substance misuse, smoking cessation, and children’s public health programmes, the letter said.

The government’s pay rise offer, made in March, was accepted by members of trade unions including the Royal College of Midwives, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, and Unison.

Members of the Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Podiatrists, Society of Radiographers, and Unite all voted to reject the offer.

Unite called the present deal a “further real terms pay cut for NHS workers” and called on the government to reopen pay negotiations.

“The current pay deal does not address the fundamental problems undermining the NHS,” Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham said. NHS staff have been dealing with real term pay cuts for over a decade, she added, and “can no longer afford to make ends meet, resulting in experienced staff leaving the NHS in droves.”

“Our members are entirely committed to their jobs but can no longer stand idly by as they watch the NHS crumble around them, which is placing patients in danger on a daily basis,” Unite National Lead Officer Onay Kasab said.

On Thursday, Unite members from across the Guy’s and St. Thomas’s Hospital workforce including nurses and other frontline workers went on a 24-hour strike. Another industrial action is to take place on Friday, as Unite members employed at the Yorkshire Ambulance Trust, including paramedics and call handlers, will go on strike.

Evgenia Filimianova is a UK-based journalist covering a wide range of national stories, with a particular interest in UK politics, parliamentary proceedings and socioeconomic issues.
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