Hospital Dr News

NHS unions demand 3.9% pay rise and extra £800 for recent restrictions

NHS unions have written to the chancellor to demand a 3.9% pay rise and an extra £800 to make up for the cuts they have seen in recent years.

Fourteen unions have joined together to ask for the increase, saying pay has fallen by 15% since 2010 once inflation is taken into account.

NHS staff have been subject to a 1% pay cap for the past four years, which followed a two-year pay freeze.

Inflation is currently 2.9%.

They said it was unfair ministers had selectively lifted the cap by agreeing a rise for police and prison officers.

NHS trusts have warned, however, that any subsequent pay rise must be met from central government with additional money and not from existing service budgets.

The unions have over a million members.

But the British Medical Association has not put its name to the letter, which has also been sent to the devolved nations.

In it, the unions argue that increasing pay would help tackle the shortages of staff being seen in the health service.

Earlier this year, research by the Royal College of Nursing suggested there were 40,000 posts unfilled – one in nine of the total.

The cost of the pay rise, which the unions want implemented across the UK from next year, would total £2.5bn.

It comes after ministers agreed to give police officers a 1% rise plus a 1% bonus, with prison officers getting a 1.7% rise – both funded from existing budgets.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “The joint union statement will not be a surprise to NHS organisations. We do not believe that the 1% pay cap is sustainable and that our members have mounting concern about both recruitment and retention of vital front line staff.

“Staff morale is also a serious issue, and while pay is by no means the only or even the critical issue, it is clearly important that those who deliver care feel valued and adequately rewarded.

“But we have also made it clear that any attempt by the government to make the service meet the cost of any pay increase would be a disaster – the pressures on NHS organisations are unprecedented and funding has been at historically low levels.

“Current plans for funding health and care services over the next two years are already unrealistic and any further cost on the pay bill must be matched with additional funds.”

The health unions, which represent a wide range of staff including nurses, midwifes, cleaners, porters, pharmacists, paramedics and dental technicians, said that still represented a pay cut.

See the pay scales.

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