- Lowest paid staff including porters and cleaners to receive 15% increase
- Midwives and physiotherapists in line for biggest increase - up to 29%
- Deal will cost the Government over £4.2bn
- GMB Union recommends rejection of deal over inflation
- Deal means lowest salary in the NHS would be £17,460
More than a million NHS workers are being offered a pay deal worth between 6.5% and 29% over three years.
The proposed deal, agreed at a meeting between 14 unions and NHS employers which staff will now be asked to vote on, signals the end of the Government’s controversial public sector pay cap.
Under the deal, the pay of the lowest-paid staff, such as porters and cleaners, will increase by 15%.
Sara Gorton, head of health at the Unison union, said seven years of pay restraint had led to a staffing crisis across the country.
The deal covers health workers in England but is expected to be mirrored in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Half of NHS workers are at the top of their pay band so will receive a 6.5% increase. The other half will get between 9% and 29%, with midwives and physiotherapists among those in line for the biggest increase.
The GMB is the only union to recommend rejection of the deal, saying it fell below the expected increase in inflation.
Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said the Government will invest £4.2 billion over three years to fund the pay hike.
He said: “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.”
Under the deal, hospital caterers, cleaners, porters and other staff on the lowest pay grade would get an immediate pay rise of more than £2,000 this year – an increase of between 11% and 13%.
This would mean that, from April 1, every NHS worker in England would be paid at least £8.93 an hour, which is 18p above the voluntary living wage of £8.75. This would take the lowest full-time rate of pay in the NHS to £17,460.
Under the proposals, band one would be scrapped by April 2021 and all staff moved to the next pay scale. The lowest salary in the NHS would then be £18,005.
Over the three years, more than 100,000 of the lowest-paid health workers would be in line for wage increases of between 15% (£2,300) and 17% (£2,600).
Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “NHS staff have never worked harder and this deal is recognition of that – alongside some important modernisation of the way their contracts work.
“We will also extend shared parental leave rights to all staff, and employers and unions have made a commitment to reducing sickness absence through a better shared focus on staff health and wellbeing, all of which will be welcomed by staff after a very tough winter.”
Hunt said the pay offer reflects “public appreciation” for how much NHS staff “have done and continue to do”.
Answering an urgent question in the Commons, he described the agreement as a “something for something deal”.
Hunt said it would bring in “profound changes in productivity in exchange for significant rises in pay”.
Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth said the Labour Party, NHS staff and trade unions had been “vindicated” in their demands for a pay rise.
“This government has finally given the lowest paid NHS staff a pay rise,” he told the Commons.
“But when we have seen nurses, paramedics, midwives losing thousands in the value of their pay, when we have heard stories of NHS staff turning to foodbanks and when we have 100,000 vacancies across the service and more nurses leaving the profession than entering it; when trusts have spent billions on agency staff, then this pay cap should have been scrapped years ago.”
He said the government must give assurances that nobody in the NHS would see their salaries fall in real terms in any given year thanks to rising inflation, and called on ministers to announce further public sector pay deals outside the health sector.