After constructive discussions with health unions, the government has proposed a plan for more than 1 million NHS employees to receive an extra pay increase.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated, “I’m pleased that after several weeks of fruitful negotiations, the government came to an agreement that will lead to a good deal for NHS staff and put disruptive strike action to rest.”
In an offer made after negotiations between the government and Agenda for Change unions, more than 1 million NHS employees in England will receive an additional wage raise.
To find an equitable and reasonable path forward on compensation, the government has been in formal talks with unions representing staff members such as paramedics, nurses, 999 call handlers, midwives, security guards, and cleaners for the past two weeks.
All parties committed to reaching an agreement that would be fair to the dedicated employees of the NHS and take into account the broader economic pressures the UK is currently experiencing.
The government stated that they greatly value the job done by NHS employees. They exhibited courage and commitment to help the nation during the pandemic, and they are now playing a crucial part in the government’s goal to reduce the waiting lists that COVID has caused to grow.
In a recent talk, Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay stated, “I have the utmost respect for the incredible work done by NHS staff during the pandemic and in their efforts to reduce the ensuing backlog.”
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The government is also aware of the rising financial strains experienced by families nationwide due to the conflict in Ukraine and the pandemic’s continuing effects.
After productive negotiations, the government has now presented a final offer. Steve Barclay said, “This proposal will safeguard our commitment to halve inflation while providing fair pay increases for nurses, paramedics, physiotherapists, and other non-medical staff.”
The offer will be recommended to members in consultations conducted over the next few weeks by the RCN (Royal College of Nursing), GMB, UNISON, the British Dietetic Association, and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. The suspension of the strike will continue while they are informed.
A non-consolidated award of 2% of each employee’s pay for 2022 to 2023 will be given to Agenda for Change employees as per the agreement.
It is in addition to the pay increase of at least 4% they received for 2022–2023 last year, worth at least £1,400 and suggested by the independent pay review body process. It translates to a newly qualified nurse receiving a 5.5% increase and those with the lowest salaries receiving a pay rise of 9.3%.
Additionally, they will receive a one-time “NHS backlog bonus” in recognition of the sustained pressure the NHS has been under since the pandemic and the extraordinary efforts staff has made to meet backlog recovery goals and fulfill the Prime Minister’s pledge to reduce waiting queue.
Each person’s backlog bonus will be worth at least £1,250; however, the amount will depend on the level of expertise of the employees and the pay band of each individual. Taking pay band five as an illustration, the typical nurse will make £1,350.
The government will give Agenda for Change employees a minimum £1,065 raise, or a 5% combined pay increase, from 2023 to 2024.
This package will increase salary by more than £2,750 for freshly licensed nurses for over two years from 2021-2022 to 2023-2024. They will additionally receive one-time payouts totaling more than £1,890 this year.
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The agreement will also give the lowest-paid NHS employees a larger pay increase, bringing the pay of everyone in bands 1 and 2 to the same level.
The government can assure the public that this pay offer will not have an adverse effect on frontline services or the standard of care provided to patients.
The government is convinced that this agreement is fair and reasonable for the Agenda for Change staff and taxpayers and will help keep inflation low. The Prime Minister has said, “We have maintained a reasonable attitude throughout. This offer is excellent for the taxpayer, NHS employees, and, most importantly, patients whose care won’t be affected by strike action.”
If inflation is not controlled, every household will become poorer, making it more difficult to expand the economy. The Prime Minister’s pledge to cut it in half and the government’s goal to support the Bank of England in getting inflation back to the 2% target remains.
In addition to the pay package, the government has made several reform commitments. The workplace should be clear of aggression, abuse, and intentional violence toward NHS employees. The government will ask the organizations already operating within the NHS Social Partnership Forum focused on reducing violence to collaborate with the NHS Staff Council to develop solutions to address and lessen violence against NHS employees.
Additionally, it will permanently reinstate the temporarily suspended pension abatement rules during the pandemic and implement measures to guarantee hospitals have a safe staffing ratio.
Also, the Health and Social Care Secretary has written to the RCN to explain that to address the unique challenges that nursing staff face concerning recruitment, retention, and professional development, it will be necessary to account for their changing responsibilities as well as design and implementation issues, including the scope and legal implications, of a separate pay spine for nursing staff only.
The government wants to finish this work to implement the resulting changes during the 2024–2025 pay period. The government will conduct it while considering the opinions of NHS Employers and unions and any potential separate measures that might apply to other occupational groups.
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