More than one million employees at the National Health Service (NHS) have been offered a three-year pay deal to increase pay between 6.5% and 29%.
The pay proposal, which has been put forward by NHS Employers and health trade unions, would give all NHS employees at least £8.93 an hour from 1 April 2018 to earn a minimum annual salary of £17,460.
Employees who are currently paid below the top of their existing pay band will be entitled to receive pay increases between 9% and 29% over the three-year pay deal period.
In addition, the majority of staff who already earn the maximum in their pay band will still receive a pay rise of 6.5% between April 2018 and April 2020. This will consist of a 3% pay increase in April 2018, a 1.7% pay rise and a 1.1% lump sum payment both delivered in April 2019 and a further 1.67% pay increase from April 2020.
Staff on lower-paid salaries, such as porters, cleaners and hospital caterers, will see their basic pay increase by 15% over the next three years as a result of the proposed pay reforms. This means that more than 100,000 employees will receive an additional £2,000 in their pay for 2018-2019.
Basic pay for band five nurses who started work this year will also rise by 22% over the next three years, equating to a £4,842 increase. A band five nurse with two years’ experience will receive a 16% pay increase, equating to £3,819, while band five nurses earning the maximum within their pay band will receive a 6.5% pay increase, which is £1,869 more.
Trade unions will now consult with their members regarding the pay offer.
The government has confirmed that additional funds will be used to implement the pay increases so that existing NHS budgets will not be affected. If the pay offer is accepted, these funds will filter into English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland budgets to allow unions, devolved governments and employers to discuss how to implement the pay reforms.
Danny Mortimer, chief executive officer at NHS Employers, said: “This three-year agreement sets out the pay investment that will be made and the reforms that employers, NHS trade unions and the Department of Health and Social Care are agreeing to implement together.
“This deal will benefit more than a million health staff in England. To support long-term attraction and recruitment, starting salaries for all our non-medical staff groups will also see increases, which will help to make these roles more attractive for people considering a career in the largest employer in Europe. It will also ensure that existing staff receive deserved increases to pay, which will assist our work to value and retain these vital [employees].”
Sara Gorton, head of health at trade union Unison and lead pay negotiator for the NHS unions added: “Seven years of pay freezes and wage increases well below the cost of living have meant significant financial hardship for health staff and their families. It’s also created headaches for employers as they struggled to attract new recruits and hold onto experienced staff.
“The agreement means an end at last to the government’s self-defeating and unfair 1% pay cap. It won’t solve every problem in the NHS, but would go a long way towards making dedicated health staff feel more valued, lift flagging morale, and help turn the tide on employers’ staffing problems.
“If health [employees] accept the offer, everyone’s wages will go further, and the lowest paid would get a significant income boost. Starting salaries for nurses, midwives and other health professionals would also become more attractive to people considering a career in the NHS.”