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Unions and employers welcome 6.5% NHS pay deal

Deal will help attract new NHS recruits and retain experienced staff, hope NHS Employers

Louise Prime

Thursday, 22 March 2018

The Royal College of Nursing, other NHS staff unions and NHS Employers have welcomed an agreement on pay that they said could result in wage rises for over a million health staff in England.

The RCN is urging its members to accept ‘the best pay deal in eight years’ and NHS Employers said they and the unions believe that the proposed agreement, which will see wage rises of between 6.5% and up to 29% in some cases as a result of pay reform, over the next three years, will turn the tide on the NHS staffing problems by helping to attract new recruits and retain experienced staff.

NHS Employers explained that under the proposed agreement, reached following months of negotiation, the pay of the lowest earning NHS staff such as porters, cleaners and hospital caterers will increase substantially as a result of pay band reform. Their basic pay will increase by 15% over the next three years. In 2018/19 the lowest full-time rate of pay will rise by over £2,000 to £17,460 –immediately benefiting more than 100,000 NHS staff.

It added that the government has confirmed that additional money will be made available to fund the increased salaries, so it won’t have to come from existing NHS budgets.

NHS Employers chief executive Danny Mortimer said: “This deal will benefit more than a million health staff in England. To support long-term attraction and recruitment, starting salaries for all our non-medical staff groups will also see increases, which will help to make these roles more attractive for people considering a career in the largest employer in Europe. It will also ensure that existing staff receive deserved increases to pay, which will assist our work to value and retain these vital colleagues.”

The RCN said the pay deal, which it negotiated jointly with other NHS trade unions, is ‘the best deal that can be negotiated in a time of continued restraint on public sector spending’. It has produced an online calculator to help staff work out the exact amounts they’ll receive in each year of the three-year deal. Basic pay will increase over the three years by 22% (£4,842) for a Band five nurse who started this year. The increase is 16% (£3,819) over the three years for a Band five nurse with two years’ experience, and 6.5% (£1,869) if they’re already at the top of the pay band.

The RCN pointed out that although it had previously been reported that staff would have to give up a day’s holiday as part of the deal, this is not the case – members’ leave will remain the same.

Lors Allford, chair of the RCN Trade Union Committee, said: “This is the best pay deal in eight years from a government that is still committed to austerity. Failure to accept it will put us back at square one, and at risk of returning to the 1% pay rises we’ve fought so hard to overturn.

“This is our chance to lock in a pay deal for three years, that not only guarantees our members will get more money, but simplifies the pay structure so that they get recognised for their increasing skill and experience quicker. It provides certainty at a time of great political and economic uncertainty and I urge our members to accept it.”

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