NHS staff offered 6.5% pay rise – but it is still a pay cut

NHS Staff are to set receive a 6.5 percent pay rise over three years but it is still below the rate of inflation.

Over a million NHS staff are set to receive pay increases of 6.5% over three years from April 2017, but this still remains as a pay cut when offset by the current rate of inflations.

The agreement that was reached with NHS Employers, the body that negotiates on behalf of the government, applies to medical staff including nurses, midwives, healthcare assistants and paramedics, but not doctors, dentists and some senior NHS managers.

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The deal is fully funded by the Treasury. £4.2 billion of extra money will be given to the NHS in England, so there will be no pressure on employers to fund the deal from existing resources.

Healthcare activists are calling for unions members to reject the deal when balloted.

Some other key facts about the offer;

  • Overlaps between the bands have been removed.
  • The number of pay points in each band has been reduced.
  • Annual leave allowances unchanged.
  • Unsociable hours will remain unchanged.

Fourteen health unions that represent one million NHS staff, including The Royal College of Nursing and Unison, have been negotiating the deal since November when the chancellor announced funding a multi-year pay deal and ‘modernisation’ of the agenda for change pay structure.

Image: © shaunwilkinson

A spokesperson from NursingNotes said; “While any pay rise is good news, the increase still falls short of the 14% real-terms pay cut NHS staff have experienced in the past 8 years. It is disappointing that wages of hard-working NHS staff still fails to keep up with rises in the cost of living”. 

Janet Davies, RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary, said: “The progress achieved here is a credit to our members who fought hard to scrap the brutally unfair pay cap.

“Today’s deal is neither a magic wand nor a blank cheque but commits significant Government cash to overlooked NHS staff without making any unpalatable demands in return. For that reason, we will be asking members to vote in favour.

“There are 40,000 unfilled nurse jobs in England alone and this should begin to make the profession attractive again.

“The next three years could be turbulent and this deal gives NHS workers some much-needed stability”.

Sara Gorton, UNISON head of health, said: “Seven years of pay freezes and wage increases well below the cost of living have meant significant financial hardship for health staff and their families. It’s also created headaches for employers as they struggled to attract new recruits and hold onto experienced staff.

“The agreement means an end at last to the government’s self-defeating and unfair one per cent pay cap. It won’t solve every problem in the NHS, but would go a long way towards making dedicated health staff feel more valued, lift flagging morale, and help turn the tide on employers’ staffing problems.

“If health workers accept the offer, everyone’s wages will go further, and the lowest paid would get a significant income boost. Starting salaries for nurses, midwives and other health professionals would also become more attractive to people considering a career in the NHS.”

You can use the NHS Pay Calculator to work out how the changes will affect you. 

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