Latest NHS pay award is ‘derisory’, say health unions

Commenting on the announcement today (Tuesday) from the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB) of its proposals for 2017/18, Christina McAneathe spokesperson for unions representing staff working in the NHS, and head of health at UNISON, said:

“This deal amounts to less than £5 a week for most midwives, nurses, cleaners, paramedics, radiographers and other healthcare staff.

“It’s a derisory amount in the face of soaring fuel bills, rising food prices and increasing transport costs.

“The government’s insistence on the one per cent cap has tied the PRB’s hands. As the PRB itself admits, it can no longer prevent health employees’ pay falling way behind wages in almost every part of the economy.

“Without the cash to hold onto experienced employees, the NHS staffing crisis will worsen as people leave for less stressful, better rewarded jobs elsewhere. This can only be bad news for patients.

“Today’s unfair settlement is yet more evidence of the government’s failure to invest in the NHS. Ministers must stop relying on goodwill, rethink this short-sighted pay policy and reward staff properly.”

Notes to editors:
– Christina McAnea chairs the group that is made up of all the unions that represent staff in the NHS. The unions that submitted joint evidence to the NHS PRB were: the British Association of Occupational Therapists, the British Dietetic Association, the British and Irish Orthoptic Society, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, the Federation of Clinical Scientists, the GMB, the Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Nursing, the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, the Society of Radiographers, UNISON and Unite.
– The NHS Pay Review Body (PRB) assesses health staff pay on an annual basis before making a recommendation to the government.
– This is the sixth year running that the PRB settlement has failed to match an increase in the cost of living for staff. Inflation is currently 3.2% (Retail Prices Index), the highest rate since September 2013.
– More than £4.3bn has been cut from NHS staff salaries between 2010 and 2016 as a result of the government’s pay cap. This is the equivalent of an annual pay reduction of £2,288 for a hospital cleaner, £4,846 for a nurse and £8,364 for a clinical psychologist, according to UNISON calculations.
– Figures from the Public Accounts Committee show that the proportion of nurses leaving their job increased from 6.8% (2010/11) to 9.2% (2014/15). The leaving rate for NHS staff in general was 16% last year, which represents a 4% increase between 2011 and 2016.
– In line with previously published pay policy, those in Scotland earning below £22,000 will receive a minimum increase of £400 in addition to the one per cent award. Staff in Wales will receive the Living Wage Foundation living wage as a minimum. There is no response to the pay recommendation yet in Northern Ireland as power-sharing talks continue.

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