NHS and social care staff in Wales receive bonus payment for 'extraordinary contribution' during coronavirus pandemic

Watch the Welsh Government's coronavirus briefing

All NHS and social care staff will receive a special bonus next month in recognition of their work during the coronavirus pandemic.

The bonus, which will come to £500 after tax deductions, will be paid to over 220,000 people from April. Students who worked in the NHS during the pandemic will also be eligible for the payment.

The announcement comes as Tuesday marked one year since the first death from coronavirus was confirmed in Wales.

Speaking at the Welsh Government's coronavirus briefing, Health Minister Vaughan Gething said: ''This bonus payment reflects our immense gratitude to our NHS and social care workforce for their extraordinary contribution to keeping Wales safe.''

Gething said the bonus was "not instead of a real pay rise".

He said: "That's what our pay review bodies are doing so this is in addition to that, in addition to the steps that I've already taken to make sure that there is a real living wage uplift for our NHS staff."

He added that the proposed 1% pay rise for NHS staff announced by the UK Government felt like a ''kick in the teeth.''

The British Medical Association (BMA Cymru) welcomed the news that staff will receive a bonus but called for better pay for doctors.

BMA Cymru Wales chair Dr David Bailey said: “We welcome this gesture as an acknowledgement of the hard work and dedication demonstrated by doctors and other NHS workers in Wales who have been stretched to the very limits during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are pleased to see their tireless commitment has been recognised.

“Whilst this payment is gratefully received, this is separate and in addition to the DDRB process, which reviews doctors annual pay award, and we reiterate our calls for a significant pay uplift for doctors which would address the real term pay erosion over the past decade”.

The bonus will be paid to all staff from April Credit: PA

The health minister also announced plans for a five year recovery plan for the NHS in Wales which will include three centres to develop specialist medicines.

£67m will help fund the regional centres where medicines, like some cancer therapies only found in hospitals, will be made available.

Vaughan Gething reassured people in Wales that the Oxford-Astrazenca vaccine is safe Credit: PA

The health minister reassured people in Wales that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is safe, after a decision by some European countries to suspend the use of the vaccine over fears it increases the risk of blood clots.

He said: ''The independent regulator, the MHRA, is clear that there has been no confirmation the reports of blood clots were caused by the vaccine.

''AstraZeneca’s review of all its safety data from some 17m vaccines administered across the UK and the EU has shown no increased risk of blood clots.''

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