Delayed, disappointing pay rise will leave staff considering their futures, say health unions

This is nowhere ​near what’s needed to save the NHS.

Health unions representing more than a million NHS staff in England have ​reacted with dismay to the NHS pay rise of £1,400 announced today (Tuesday) by the government.

UNISON head of health and chair of the ​NHS group of unions Sara Gorton said: “This is nowhere ​near what’s needed to save the NHS.

“Demoralised ​and depleted health workers needed to know that ministers are serious about solving the staffing crisis and investing in the future. The way to do that was through a significant pay award.

“With the pandemic barely behind us and the growing cost-of-living catastrophe, NHS staff, their bank accounts ​and health services are all running on empty.

“The government’s shown it’s prepared to sit by and watch waiting lists grow, ambulance call times ​lengthen and patient suffering increase.

“Many will be seriously considering industrial action after this pitiful increase and a majority of the public will be behind them.

​”Ministers can’t continue to allow wages to fall and expect staff still ​to be there. The simple formula for recruiting and retaining enough staff to tackle the treatment backlog ​and avoiding a damaging dispute is to ensure NHS workers have a decent pay rise. ​This isn’t it.”

Assistant director at the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and secretary of the ​NHS group of unions Elaine Sparkes said: “NHS workers have made it clear that a pay award like this is nowhere near enough in the current climate, being substantially less than the current and predicted level of inflation.

“We’ve told the government that – as have tens of thousands of people who took to the streets last month demanding a fair deal for workers.

“But still it presses on with an award that will cut the real value of take home pay for ​health staff and potentially put patient care at risk as the workforce crisis in the NHS deepens.

“Health unions will now consult members on what action they wish to take to ensure the extraordinary efforts of NHS staff are fairly rewarded.”

Notes to editors:
– The 13 NHS unions are: British Association of Occupational Therapists, British Dietetic Association, British Orthoptic Society, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Royal College of Podiatry, Federation of Clinical Scientists, GMB, Managers in Partnership, Prison Officers Association, Royal College of Midwives, Society of Radiographers, UNISON and Unite.
– Health workers were due a pay rise on 1 April 2022 after their previous one-year deal expired. This award is for NHS staff in England.
– The health unions had called for an above-inflation pay rise in their submission to the NHS pay review body. The government had proposed a 3% increase.
– All NHS staff on Agenda for Change contracts (NHS terms and conditions) in England will get a consolidated pay rise of £1,400. This package amounts to a 4.75% increase to the NHS Agenda For Change pay bill.