The process for NHS pay for 2022/23 has started.
The CSP, alongside other health unions, has called for urgent action to stem the tide of staff leaving the health service. It is not enough to recruit new staff, action must be taken to retain existing staff. This must include retention measures with an above inflation rise at its heart.
This was highlighted by the CSP in our evidence to the independent pay review body (PRB), where we joined with all the healthcare trade unions to call for a pay increase that recognises and rewards the skills and value of health workers.
A retention package is particularly important for physiotherapy staff. The rate at which physiotherapy staff leave the NHS increased throughout 2021, and now surpasses both the average leaver rates for all allied health professions, and for nursing and midwifery staff.
What is proposed in the retention package?
With inflation rising, and expected increases in national insurance rates from 1 April it has never been more important for the government to deliver a significant pay rise.
It is the CSP’s view that the 2022/23 pay award must:
- deliver an above inflation increase so that NHS staff can cope with rising prices, which may change significantly over the pay year
- absorb the impact from increases in member contributions to the NHS pension scheme
- offer the real living wage to all NHS employees
As the value of NHS wages has been held back over a long period of time, the CSP is seeking a commitment that the 2022-23 pay rise will be a significant ‘downpayment’ as part of a pay restoration programme.
Additional measures to support retention
In addition to a decent pay rise that supports both retention and recruitment, the healthcare trade unions have called for measures to address overwork and staff burnout.
The health unions are therefore together calling on governments to make use full use of the NHS Contract to:
- ensure all Agenda for Change bands reflect job content
- prevent burnout by limiting excess hours, while paying a fair rate for all additional hours
- support progression and career development
- encourage employers to use local arrangements where staff shortages are a particular risk to staff wellbeing
The process across the four countries
NHS pay is usually set through a PRB process, which takes evidence from trade unions, NHS employers and the Department of Health and Social Care on behalf of the government, before making final recommendations to government – which then decides on the pay award for the year.
However, in its 2022/23 remit to the PRB, the UK government has not even requested recommendations about NHS pay in England from the PRB to be given until May 2022 – and even then failed to submit its own evidence in time for the PRB’s requested deadline back in January 2022.
NHS staff in Wales and Northern Ireland are also expected to have pay recommendations through a PRB process, but this may run on a later timetable.
The CSP expects pay in Scotland to be settled between direct negotiations between the Scottish government and trade unions.
The Health Unions have called on the government to recognise the urgency and to take action now. They need to begin talks on a retention package before waiting for the PRB to develop full recommendations.
However if the government continues with the already delayed PRB process the health unions will be working together to keep pay and retention high on the agenda. This may include cross union campaigning and organising both nationally and locally.
What You Can Do
On Friday 1 April, CSP members took to social media to tell politicians it’s time to #GetSerious on NHS pay.
Members and the public can also get involved during the pay campaign. See here for more info.
Please use these hashtags #GetSerious #CSP4FairPay #WithNHSstaff and encourage colleagues, friends and family to tweet and share your posts and images. During the year there will be further calls for demonstrations to keep awareness in the minds of both the public and the government. See Get Organised! for details about holding a flash demo at your workplace.
- The CSP's 2022 evidence to the PRB
- On 8 March, the RCN announced a decision to move away from the joint union position