NHS workers are now considering a final government offer for pay rises this year and next, after months of disputes over wages which saw staff go on strike.
A government spokesperson said the offer, which would see staff members receive a permanent, blanket 5% pay rise for 2023/24 and an “additional lump sum” for this year, is now been considered by unions and their members. While the pay deal is considered in the coming weeks, strike action is on hold.
But how much will the pay rise be for NHS workers across the UK, when will it be paid and who will it be awarded to?
Here’s everything you need to know.
How much will the pay rise be for?
On Thursday, the government spokesman said that they had put forward a new offer to NHS workers and unions which included additional pay for 2022-23, and a pay settlement for 2023-24.
The spokesman said both sides believed it represented “a fair and reasonable settlement” that acknowledges the dedication of NHS staff, while also acknowledging the wider economic pressures currently facing the UK.
They added: “Those unions with mandates for industrial action, RCN, Unison, GMB, CSP, Unite and BDA, will now consult their members in consultations that will be held over the coming weeks. Strike action will continue to be paused while these ballots are ongoing."
Health Secretary Steve Barclay said aid the offer includes a permanent, blanket 5% pay rise for 2023/24 and an “additional lump sum” for this year, meaning a newly qualified nurse would get an extra £1,800 this year on top of the existing deal and a pay rise of more than £1,300 next year.
The lump-sum payment would rise in value the higher up the NHS pay bands a worker is. For example, it is worth £1,655 for staff at the bottom of band two, which includes porters, cleaners and healthcare assistants, £2,009 for staff at the top of band five, which includes nurses, midwives, and physiotherapists, £2,162 at the top of band six, which includes paramedics, health visitors, senior occupational therapists, and £3,789 for staff at the top of band nine. Trade union Unison said the lowest pay point in the NHS will now be £11.45 an hour – 55p higher than the voluntary real living wage.
Meanwhile GMB Scotland, which represents staff in the NHS and Scottish Ambulance Service, said its members accepted the improved pay offer by a majority of 59.7%. The Royal College of Midwives (RCM), and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) are also currently balloting their members and recommended members to accept the deal. The pay offer was made to 160,000 NHS staff, including nurses, midwives and paramedics, and would see workers get an average 6.5% increase in 2023/24. The offer is in addition to the imposed pay rise which was already allocated for 2022/23, meaning many staff could receive a 13 to 14% pay increase over a two-year period.
When will the money be paid?
If a pay agreement can be reached it is not yet known when the money will be paid to workers. We will update this article with more information when we have it.
Who decides how much money NHS workers get paid in each of the devolved nations?
For Agenda for Change (AfC) staff in England, Ministers at the Department of Health and Social Care and Treasury decide on any NHS pay rise following the NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB) report, which was published on Tuesday 19 July 2022. NHS pay is considered a devolved issue; therefore, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can either match a decision made in England or implement their own individual solution.
What have the unions said?
There are mixed views among unions and official organisations about the pay offer.
Royal College of Nursing general secretary Pat Cullen advised each worker to carefullycrefuly consider what the pay deal would mean for them before voting. She said: "After tough negotiations, there are a series of commitments here that our members can see will make a positive impact on the nursing profession, the NHS and the people who rely on it. As well as the additional money now, we have made real progress with the Government on safe staffing measures, a new pay structure for nursing, support for newly qualified staff and pensions too."
Some unions, such as Unite, said they would not be recommending their members to accept the deal. General secretary Sharon Graham said: ""The offer... is not one that Unite can recommend to our members, but ultimately it is important that our members make the final decision. Unite will support members in whichever decision they now make. [But] it is clear that this Government does not hold the interest of workers or the NHS at heart. Their behaviour and disdain for NHS workers and workers generally is clear from their actions. Britain has a broken economy and workers are paying the price."
When did NHS staff last get a pay rise?
NHS workers last received a pay rise in 2021, when they were given at least a 3% pay increase. It was given to nurses, paramedics, consultants, dentists and salaried GPs. The 3% pay rise was given to workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. For the average nurse, this meant an additional £1,000 a year, while many porters and cleaners received about £540.
At the moment, a newly qualified nurse earns approximately £25,000 and the average nurse makes £33,000. The 3% rise came after the Government changed its mind after having previously pledged to give NHS workers a 1% pay rise. At the time, this was described as a “slap in the face” by industry leaders. In Scotland, NHS staff were offered an average 4% pay rise.
Who will the pay rise be awarded to?
In line with previous NHS pay rises, the 2022/23 pay rise and 2023/24 pay settlement is expected to be given to nurses, paramedics, consultants, dentists, salaried GPs and also healthcare support staff.