A 3% pay rise from the government to NHS workers in England has been heavily criticised as “paltry”, “appalling” and “shambolic” by union leaders.
Those receiving the increase, which is backdated to April 2021, include nurses, paramedics, consultants, dentists and salaried GPs.
The government says that for the average nurse, this will mean an additional £1,000 a year. And the extra sum is expected to equate to around £540 for cleaners and porters.
The workers are being recognised for their pandemic contribution during an “unprecedented year”, says the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said it is a real-terms increase – but Donna Hales from campaign group Nurses United told Sky News: “It’s not even an attempt at a pay rise.”
She said she was “very insulted, very angry, very deflated, very disappointed… but to be fair, I’m not surprised.”
She added: “We do need a proper 15% pay rise to bring us back in line.”
Some unions, including the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), have described the sum as “shambolic” and “insulting”.
The RCN added that “the profession will not take this lying down”.
The organisation said the Treasury expects inflation to be 3.7%, so “ministers are knowingly cutting pay for an experienced nurse by over £200 in real-terms”.
In a video on Twitter, Mr Javid said: “I’m sure that this pay rise will make a real difference to people’s lives… showing them how much we value and respect their incredible contribution to our nation.”
And in a statement, he 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.”
The government initially offered a 1% pay rise which was firmly contested by medical unions and regarded as “insulting” by NHS workers.
But on Wednesday evening, the DHSC confirmed they have accepted the recommendations of the NHS independent pay review bodies in full and will be increasing their offer to 3% in line with the “unique impact of the pandemic” on the health sector.