U-turn sees NHS workers handed a 3% pay rise

Unions will now make arrangements to consult their members on the offer. 

Matt Bodell
21 July 2021
Nurse making the bed at a hospital

The government previously said 1% was all it could afford.

NHS workers in England are to be handed a 3% single-year pay rise, health secretary Sajid Javid has announced.


The news comes only hours after Conservative MP and Health Minister Helen Whately told Parliament that the Government was still “considering” the undisclosed recommendations of the NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB).

Mr Javid said that the government had accepted in full the recommendations of the NHS independent pay review bodies.

He confirmed the rise would cover the vast majority of NHS staff including clinical support workers, nurses, paramedics, consultants, dentists and salaried GPs and recognised their contribution to battling the coronavirus pandemic.

The rise will also be backdated to April 2021.


Extraordinary efforts.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “NHS staff are rightly receiving a pay rise this year despite the wider public sector pay pause, in recognition of their extraordinary efforts.

“We asked the independent pay review bodies for their recommendations and I’m pleased to accept them in full, with a 3% pay rise for all staff in scope, from doctors and nurses to paramedics and porters.

“We will back the NHS as we focus our efforts on getting through this pandemic and tackling the backlog of other health problems that has built up.

“I will continue to do everything I can to support all those in our health service who are working so tirelessly to care for patients.”


Health unions and grassroots campaigning groups have been calling for a 12.5% to 15% pay rise since July 2020 following over a decade of real-terms pay cuts.

Figures suggest that the most experienced front-line nurses are around £6144 per year worse off now than ten years ago due to wages failing to keep up with the rate of inflation (RPI).

Unions will now make arrangements to consult their members on the offer.

A shambolic announcement.

Responding to the NHS pay announcement, RCN Interim General Secretary and Chief Executive, Pat Cullen, said: “After a shambolic day, comes a shambolic announcement. When the Treasury expects inflation to be 3.7%, ministers are knowingly cutting pay for an experienced nurse by over £200 in real-terms.

“Hospitals and other parts of the NHS are struggling to recruit nurses and healthcare support workers. The government has been warned that many more are on the verge of leaving. With today’s decision, ministers have made it even harder to provide safe care to patients.


“This announcement is light on detail. It must be fully-funded with additional monies for the NHS and ringfenced for the workforce bill.

“Nursing staff will remain dignified in responding to what will be a bitter blow to many. But the profession will not take this lying down. We will be consulting our members on what action they would like to take next.”

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