The government is set to offer around 1 million NHS staff a 6.5% pay rise over the next three years but is insisting that health workers give up a day’s holiday in return for the £3.3bn deal.
Ministers hope they are close to finalising a package to give #NHS personnel in England their first meaningful pay rise since 2010, after months of behind-the-scenes talks with union leaders.
The Treasury and Department of Health and Social Care plan to propose that all non-medical NHS staff across the UK receive a 3% increase in their salary in 2018-19 – the current rate of inflation – and then rises of 1%-2% in the following two years. Nurses, midwives, healthcare assistants, ambulance staff and all other workers except doctors and dentists would benefit from the scrapping of the hated pay cap. Doctors and dentists have a separate pay review system.
The deal the government is preparing to formally put to staff later this month would also see some NHS personnel get pay rises of 10% and, in certain circumstances, well above that by 2021. Those on the bottom of the NHS’s nine pay scales would get a bigger uplift under Agenda for Change – the agreement that governs the earnings of health service staff – than colleagues who earn more because they are higher up that pay band.
The 14 health unions that have been negotiating the details of the government’s offer, in conditions of strict secrecy, are cautiously optimistic they will feel able to recommend it and that their members, who include Unison, Royal College of Nursing, Unite, the GMB and Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, will endorse it.
Sources close to the talks say they have been constructive, businesslike and highly detailed, with both sides keen to see NHS staff pay improved as much as possible. A plan for the chancellor Philip Hammond to unveil the offer in his Spring Statement next Tuesday has been abandoned, however, as there are still some sticking points to be resolved.