NHS strikes: What is in the latest pay offer for striking health workers

After months of industrial action, a fresh pay offer has been made

More than one million NHS staff in England could soon get a pay rise, including nurses, paramedics, physiotherapists, porters and cleaners, if they accept the government's offer.

After months of industrial action, unions paused strikes to meet with the government for talks late on Wednesday night and a fresh pay offer was made.

The new deal will see workers getting two one-off payments for the last year and a boost in salary for the year ahead, which the government says is above inflation.

The unions will then present the offer to their members to decide if they want to accept it.

A joint statement from the government and the NHS Staff Council said: "Both sides believe it represents a fair and reasonable settlement that acknowledges the dedication of NHS staff, while acknowledging the wider economic pressures currently facing the UK."

If the deal does go ahead, here is a break down of how much staff will get and what each part of the deal means:

One-off payment for last year

The first part of the deal are a one-off payment to NHS staff for 2022/23.

Under the deal, Agenda for Change staff will receive a non-consolidated award of 2% of an individuals’ salary for 2022/23.

The Agenda for Change umbrella covers all NHS staff except doctors, dentists and very senior managers.

NHS Backlog Bonus

Next is a one-off ‘NHS Backlog Bonus’ which recognises the intense pressure the NHS has faced since the pandemic, and the work done to cut waiting lists.  

The amount is decided by NHS staff's pay bands, which run from one at the lowest and nine at the top and their experience.

  • The minimum lump sum will be worth at least £1,250 per person.

  • Porters, cleaners and healthcare assistants and those in band two, will get £1,655.

  • Nurses, midwives, physiotherapists and those at the top of band five will get £2,009.

  • Paramedics, health visitors, senior occupational therapists and those at the top of band six will get £2,162.

  • Bosses and top consultants as well as staff at the top of band nine will get £3,789.

A pay rise for 2023/24

For 2023/24, the government is offering Agenda for Change staff a 5% pay rise worth at least £1,065.

A newly qualified nurse will see their salary go up by more than £2,750 over two years from 2021/22 to 2023/24.

The deal will also provide a higher pay uplift for the lowest paid NHS staff, with all those in bands 1 and 2 having their pay raised to the same level.

Unison, the public services trade union, said the lowest pay point in the NHS will be £11.45 an hour – 55p higher than the voluntary real living wage.

Where will the money come from?

Rishi Sunak has insisted money will not come from frontline services and that they will “absolutely not” be affected by the NHS pay deal to end strikes.

However the prime minster would not say how the package will be funded.

When pressed by broadcasters during a visit to a south London hospital on whether patient care would be affected to fund the proposed payrises, Sunak said: “Absolutely not. We’re going to be making sure we’re protecting all frontline services.”

Health Secretary Steve Barclay has also said the funding for the pay deal with the NHS unions will not come at the expense of patients.

He said: “Obviously how these things are funded are a matter for the chancellor.

“We have been very clear in terms of the discussions we have had with the trade unions this will not come from patient-facing aspects.

“Of course we will look at areas of underspend, areas of administrative saving and discuss these things with the Treasury in the usual way.”

What happens next?

The unions involved - RCN, Unison, GMB, CSP, Unite and BDA – will now speak to their members in consultations over the coming weeks.

Members will then vote on whether they accept the offer.

Strike action will continue to be paused while this is ongoing, the unions have confirmed.

Is it likely the offer will be accepted?

During the consultation process the unions will recommend to their members whether they think the offer should be accepted.

While most have said the offer is 'fair' or shows 'real progress,' others are less convinced.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: "It is clear that the government has been forced into negotiations and the subsequent move because of strike action and the support of the public for the NHS.

“The offer from government is not one that Unite can recommend to our members, but ultimately it is important that our members make the final decision.

"Unite will support members in whichever decision they now make."

In contrast, Royal College of Nursing general secretary Pat Cullen said: “Members took the hardest of decisions to go on strike and I believe they have been vindicated today.

“After tough negotiations, there are a series of commitments here that our members can see will make a positive impact on the nursing profession, the NHS and the people who rely on it.

“Our members will have their say on it and I respect everybody’s perspective. Each should look closely at what it means for them.

“As well as the additional money now, we have made real progress with the Government on safe staffing measures, a new pay structure for nursing, support for newly qualified staff and pensions too.

“It is not a panacea, but it is real, tangible progress and the RCN’s member leaders are asking fellow nursing staff to support what our negotiations have secured.”

A decision will be reached in the coming weeks.

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