NHS heroes offered pay rise of just 3% as Tory ministers agree last-minute deal

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The Tories’ have belatedly announced a 3% NHS pay deal after a day of farce in Parliament

The rise was met with anger from pandemic heroes as it is expected to leave pay roughly flat after inflation.

Frontline staff had demanded a decent real-terms pay increase after a decade of below inflation deals which has left them around 15% worse off.

Inflation is at 2.5% and the Consumer Price Index measure – the average cost of goods and services – is expected to rise to between 3% and 4% by the end of the year.

Nurse Jodie Elliot, 31, who works on a paediatric ward in a London hospital, told the Mirror: “That’s not enough as far as we’re concerned.

“In real terms the Government could be giving me another pay cut. I’ve been doing this for around ten years and I’ve literally never known a decent pay packet.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid outside Downing Street
(Image: REUTERS)

“The NHS has been doing its damndest to keep things going and we are now working at over 100% capacity.”

It came after the planned announcement in Parliament at 1.30pm on Wednesday was aborted after no agreement could be reached in time.

Instead junior minister Helen Whately was put forward to read out a statement saying NHS pay would be confirmed “in due course” and “as soon as we can.”

Then at 6pm the Government rushed out a statement confirming the 3% deal that it had briefed was likely beforehand.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “NHS staff are rightly receiving a pay rise this year despite the wider public sector pay pause, in recognition of their extraordinary efforts.

“We asked the independent pay review bodies for their recommendations and I’m pleased to accept them in full, with a 3% pay rise for all staff in scope, from doctors and nurses to paramedics and porters.

“We will back the NHS as we focus our efforts on getting through this pandemic and tackling the backlog of other health problems that has built up.

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“I will continue to do everything I can to support all those in our health service who are working so tirelessly to care for patients.”

The pay deal will be backdated to April 2021.

Pat Cullen, interim general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “After a shambolic day, comes a shambolic announcement.
“When the Treasury expects inflation to be 3.7%, ministers are knowingly cutting pay for an experienced nurse by over £200 in real-terms.

“Hospitals and other parts of the NHS are struggling to recruit nurses and healthcare support workers.

“The Government has been warned that many more are on the verge of leaving. With today’s decision, ministers have made it even harder to provide safe care to patients.

“This announcement is light on detail. It must be fully-funded with additional monies for the NHS and ringfenced for the workforce bill.

“Nursing staff will remain dignified in responding to what will be a bitter blow to many. But the profession will not take this lying down. We will be consulting our members on what action they would like to take next.”

The RCN said an experienced nurse with at least 7 years’ in the job with a current salary of £30,615, will receive £31,533 from this award.

If it kept pace with inflation, the award would be £214 higher at £31,748.

The Government had initially proposed a palty 1% pay rise to the NHS Pay Review Body.

It considered this and came back with a recommendation of 3% in June which ministers have belatedly accepted.

UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said: “The government’s acceptance of the NHS pay review body recommendation is an improvement on its earlier miserly 1% proposal.

Boris Johnson outside No10 taking part in 'clap for carers' at the height of the pandemic
(Image: PA)

“But the increase falls short of what NHS staff deserve after the past 16 months. It’s less than the wage rise given to Scottish health colleagues and not enough to protect the NHS.

“Porters, cleaners, nurses, paramedics and other health workers have waited for months for what they hoped would be a fair deal.

“Ministers could have paid up last year if they really valued the NHS. Instead, staff have been made to hang on until the summer – long after their wage rise was due.

“Health workers are now expected to meet the deadly challenge of a new virus wave. The government has failed to show staff just how valued they are to us all. There’s a risk many may not stay around to see the NHS through the pandemic and the clearing of the Covid backlog.”

It came on the day hospital admissions in England of people with Covid-19 has climbed to its highest level for nearly five months.
A total of 752 admissions were reported on July 19 – up 21% on the previous week.

It is the highest daily number since February 25 and medics fear cases could rise to levels seen in previous waves when the NHS came close to being overwhelmed.

Rachel Harrison, officer at the GMB union, said: “NHS staff are on their knees – exhausted, fatigued and anxious – as we look set to enter another wave of the covid pandemic. Staff morale is rock bottom.

“Hospitals and ambulance services are operating under extreme pressures due to rising demand and staffing shortages.

"Now, rather than focussing on staff welfare they are being advised to enter the workplace against self-isolation advice and now given this frankly appalling pay offer.

“This was the opportunity for Government to turn their clapping in to genuine recognition. Their response is paltry. They have failed spectacularly.

“NHS workers know their worth and so do the public – shame on the government who don’t."

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