A rise of just 3% is another real-terms pay cut for NHS workers.
The Government has asked the NHS pay review body to recommend a rise of “up to 3%” for workers in England despite a skyrocketing cost of living.
Evidence submitted by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to the independent NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB) reveals that while the Government initially budgeted just 2%, they could go as high as 3% – but says it could come with trade-offs.
The Government warns the NHSPRB that if a rise of 3% is suggested it could put NHS recovery plans at risk due to tight budgetary constraints.
The figure is half the rate of inflation after it is expected to rise from 5.5% in January to almost 8% in April. Combined with soaring energy bills and national insurance hikes, the figure is likely to lead to another significant real-terms pay cut for NHS workers.
It comes on a backdrop of nearly a decade of real-terms pay cuts imposed by the Conservative-controlled Government. Estimates suggest the average frontline Band 5 nurse is between £5000 and £6000 worse off now than in 2012.
Failing to pay a fair wage is a false economy.
The Royal College of Nursing has accused the Government of not taking the current nursing workforce crisis seriously.
Responding to the Government’s submission to the NHS Pay Review Body, RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive, Pat Cullen,said: “This document shows the UK Government is not serious about tackling the nursing workforce crisis, retaining expert and experienced nursing or making patient care safer.
“Our members will see this as a deliberate attempt to pitch nurses against patients. Politicians need to move beyond this false choice between paying staff fairly and safer staffing levels – one is key to the other.
“Failing to pay a fair wage is a false economy: we know that many are thinking of quitting the profession and anything less than what they deserve will not prevent an exodus from a safety critical profession.
“The elephant in the room seems to be the spiralling cost of living. By not acknowledging it, they are signalling to staff that their pay will just fall even further behind inflation.
“The Government must show staff they are valued and send a message to the public that patient safety is a top priority. This deeply unambitious starting point for the next pay round will not help the much needed recovery of services.”