NHS pay rise: how much health workers will receive as unions call pay award for NHS staff ‘unacceptable’

Health unions have reacted to the Government’s NHS pay rise announcement

The NHS pay rise is “unacceptable” and “a grave misstep by ministers”, a number of leading health unions have said.

NHS staff will get at least a 4.5% pay rise, with the lowest earners receiving up to a 9.3% increase backdated to April. Eligible dentists and doctors will also receive a 4.5% pay rise.

Health unions have reacted to the Government’s NHS pay rise announcement

More than a million nurses, paramedics, midwives, porters and cleaners will get a pay rise of at least £1,400, with the average basic pay for nurses to increase from around £35,600 to £37,000. Newly-qualified nurses will get a 5.5% increase to £27,055.

But NHS and health unions have said the pay rise is “unacceptable”, as well as being ignorant to the cost of living crisis.

‘They continue to ignore the cost-of-living crisis

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said that while the increase is to the overall pay bill, the pay award will be delivered as consolidated £1,400 for all Agenda for Change Staff - the pay system that covers all NHS staff except doctors, dentists and very senior managers.

This will result in a pay increase of just 4% for the majority of its members, while midwives in higher bands will lose out with a lower pay increase again, the RCM said.

The unions said the pay increase announcement for midwives and maternity support workers “is unacceptable and won’t cut it”.

RCM’s executive director Suzanne Tyler said: “Not only has the Government knowingly delayed a pay rise that was due in April, they continue to ignore the cost-of-living crisis and the exodus of midwives.

“This pay award is less than half the rate of inflation and falls well short of what our members need to continue to cope with the rising cost of living and to remain working in the NHS.”

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) also disagreed with the pay announcement.

RCN general secretary and chief executive Pat Cullen said: “This is a grave misstep by ministers. With this low award, the government is misjudging the mood of nursing staff and the public too.

“There are tens of thousands of unfilled nursing jobs and today ministers have taken the NHS even further from safe patient care.

“Living costs are rising and yet they have enforced another real-terms pay cut on nursing staff. It will push more nurses and nursing support workers out of the profession.

“Our members will vote and tell us what they want to do next. We are grateful for the growing public support, including over strike action.

“The award must be fully funded with additional money. There can be no question of money being taken out of existing NHS budgets.”

‘A disgrace’

General secretary of union Unison Christina McAnea said: “Th​e Government has made a big mistake. ​This short-sighted decision risks harming the UK’s most cherished institution ​beyond repair.

“​Ministers might have shifted their pay position a little, but nowhere near enough. This award is barely half the lowest level of inflation. The price surge shows no sign of easing and hikes to energy bills will wipe out the rise for almost everyone.”

The British Medical Association (BMA) said the rise is a “brutal pay cut”, which will come as a “bitter blow to doctors”.

BMA council chair Professor Philip Banfield said the announcement “represents a brutal pay cut that will come as a bitter blow for doctors across England.”

He added: “Ministers can paint whatever picture they like, but this represents a complete failure to recognise the sacrifices of doctors in the pandemic, through year-on-year real terms cuts going back to 2008.

“That the UK Government has excluded junior doctors in England, even from this year’s paltry offer due to a multi-year agreement made way before we could have anticipated the damage wrought by the pandemic and sky-high inflation, is a disgrace. It exposes their contempt for my already low-paid colleagues who will be rightly furious.”