After months of waiting, during which CSP members continued the campaign for fair pay, Westminster finally announced the NHS pay award
The CSP has warned that the three per cent pay award for NHS Agenda for Change staff that has now been confirmed for England and Wales is not enough to prevent a workforce crisis in healthcare, risking patient care.
Three and a half months after the raise should have been in pay packets, the announcement by the Westminster government in late July fell short of the four per cent offered to NHS staff in Scotland, and represented only a 0.5 per cent real-terms pay rise once the current inflation rate of 2.5 per cent is taken into account.
The award came after a year of the pandemic response, leading to huge strain on staff, alarming rates of burnout and many – in particular older workers – now considering leaving the NHS after a lifetime of public service.
Covid-19 has brought into ever greater focus what the UK population already knew so well – that our NHS workers are not valued enough and not paid enough. The CSP and other health unions are now calling on governments in Westminster, Cardiff and Belfast to increase the pay award to reflect the real value of all NHS staff.
Karen Middleton, CSP chief executive, said: ‘This pay award, barely above inflation, risks deepening an NHS recruitment and retention crisis, impacting on patient care, at a time when Covid cases are rising; when many Covid rehab needs remain unmet; and when staff are also dealing with the backlog in non-Covid care. It is imperative that any pay award is fully funded and we will begin the work to clarify this immediately.’
The government initially proposed a one per cent increase, but after overwhelming protests from the healthcare sector, increased the figure in line with the recommendations of the Pay Review Body (PRB).
Elaine Sparkes, CSP assistant director, said: ‘There is no doubt that CSP members, alongside other healthcare staff, have kept NHS pay high on the agenda and put pressure on the government through campaigning, whether it was letters to MPs or local demonstrations, that showed the strength of feeling that one per cent was not enough.’
While Westminster and Cardiff, in line with the PRB process, have announced an award rather than an offer, the CSP, along with other health unions will now move to consult members employed by the NHS.
Following the announcements for England and Wales, the Northern Ireland government is expected to reveal their responses to the PRB recommendations. Earlier this year, CSP members in Scotland voted by a significant majority to accept the NHS pay offer made by the Scottish Government, which saw most NHS staff receive a four per cent pay rise.
Further information on the consultation process, along with any frequently asked questions, will be available on the CSP website which will be updated regularly.
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