Health unions have been calling for a restorative 12.5% pay rise for NHS workers since June 2020.
The Health Secretary has formally opened the 2022-23 NHS pay round – but delayed the recommendations of the independent pay review body until May 2022.
In a letter to the independent NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB) Mr Javid warns that “the NHS budget has already been set until 2024 to 2025” so any recommendations must be affordable.
He also hints at a lack of increased government funding for any rise, he added; “[the Government] must balance the need to ensure fair pay for public sector workers while protecting funding for frontline services and ensuring affordability for taxpayers”.
Before explaining; “We must ensure that the affordability of a pay award is taken into consideration to ensure that the NHS is able to recruit, retain and motivate its Agenda for Change workforce, as well as deliver on other key priorities, including ensuring the NHS has 50,000 more nurses by 2025 and tackling elective recovery.”
Health unions have been calling for a restorative 12.5% pay rise for NHS workers since June 2020 after real terms wages have fallen by around £6000 for an experienced frontline nurse.
The news comes only days after Javid asked retired NHS workers to return in an army-style reserves programme.
Keeping staff or delivering care.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has condemned Mr Javid’s actions. RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive Pat Cullen, said: “This letter shows ministers have learnt nothing.
“By delaying to May 2022, the deal will not be ready for the new financial year. It is unacceptable to keep our members waiting yet again. His mention of ‘patience’ overlooks the fact that these are real people who need a fair salary.
“The Health Secretary is again trying to present a choice over keeping staff or delivering care. Safe care requires a fully staffed workforce but only days ago we learnt of a sharp increase in vacancies.
“Fair pay must be part of turning the tide. He must understand how staffing shortages are the very thing he cannot afford.”
Nurses United UK added; “We’re in the middle of a winter crisis where we don’t have the staff because of the pay and conditions this Government has created.
“How can this ex-banker pretend to be protecting the NHS and its staff? We need a restorative pay rise delivered right now, not in May 2022, to bring us back to safety. We need this Government to listen to health professionals, not their donors.”