Over 1 Million NHS Workers to Benefit from New Pay Deal

Following productive discussions with Agenda for Change unions, the government has proposed a pay increase for more than a million NHS staff in England. Formal negotiations have taken place over the past two weeks with unions representing various roles, including nurses, paramedics, 999 call handlers, midwives, security guards, and cleaners, in order to reach a fair and reasonable agreement on pay.

The deal aims to provide a fair outcome for dedicated NHS workers while considering the broader economic challenges faced by the UK. The government greatly appreciates the unwavering support NHS staff have shown throughout the pandemic and their ongoing efforts to reduce the waiting lists that have grown as a result of Covid.

Final Offer on the Table

The government has now presented its final offer, which will be recommended to union members during consultations over the coming weeks. The Royal College of Nursing, UNISON, GMB, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, and the British Dietetic Association are among the unions involved. Strike action will remain on hold while consultations take place.

Under the proposed deal, Agenda for Change staff will receive a non-consolidated award of 2% of their salary for 2022/23. This comes in addition to the minimum 4% pay increase already granted for the same period, resulting in a minimum £1,400 increase. Consequently, newly qualified nurses will see a 5.5% raise, and those on the lowest salaries will receive a 9.3% pay increase.

An “NHS Backlog Bonus” will also be provided, recognizing the ongoing pressure on the NHS due to the pandemic and the exceptional efforts of staff in addressing backlog recovery targets and reducing waiting lists. The bonus will be worth at least £1,250 per person, with the exact amount dependent on an individual’s experience and pay band. For instance, an average nurse in pay band 5 will receive £1,350.

For the 2023/24 period, Agenda for Change staff will be offered a 5% consolidated pay increase, worth a minimum of £1,065. As a result, a newly qualified nurse’s salary will increase by over £2,750 from 2021/22 to 2023/24, along with receiving more than £1,890 in one-off payments this year.

The lowest paid NHS staff in bands 1 and 2 will also see their pay rise to the same level. The government guarantees that this pay offer will not negatively impact frontline services or the quality of patient care.

Additional Reforms

In addition to the pay package, the government is also committing to several reforms. To address violence against NHS staff, the government will work with existing groups in the NHS Social Partnership Forum to identify ways to reduce such incidents.

Furthermore, the suspension of pension abatement rules introduced during the pandemic will be made permanent, and measures will be introduced to ensure safer staffing levels in hospitals.

The Health and Social Care Secretary has also written to the RCN to address challenges faced by nursing staff in terms of recruitment, retention, and professional development. This includes exploring the possibility of a separate pay spine exclusively for nursing staff. The government aims to implement any resulting changes by the 2024/25 pay year and will consider whether similar measures should apply to other occupational groups.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay have both expressed their satisfaction with the agreement, stating that it rewards hardworking NHS staff, is affordable for taxpayers, and ensures that patient care will no longer be disrupted by strike action.