The NHS staff have been phenomenal in their courage fighting Covid-19 and I am thankful that we have access to such a wonderful service. That is why I am pleased to confirm that nurses have not been excluded from the pay rise process as was demonstrated very clearly in the Government press release of 21st July.
There are two pay processes taking place. The first is Agenda for Change which includes nurses and many other NHS workers and has been agreed with the unions. Over one million National Health Service staff continue to benefit from the three-year Agenda for Change and which has seen the lowest starting salary in the NHS increase by over 16% The NHS Staff Council reached agreement in 2018 on this, as well as reform of the pay structure and changes to terms and conditions. The starting pay for a newly qualified nurse has increased by over 12% since 2017/18. This means nurses who are still moving up their pay structures will receive an average 4.4% rise this year. The second is a recommendation by independent pay review bodies, and Government has simply accepted the headline recommended rise for each workforce. Nurses have always been included in overall pay processes.
The independent NHS Pay Review Body and The Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration make annual recommendations on pay rises for National Health Service staff. The Pay Review Bodies are made up of experts and their recommendations are based on a comprehensive assessment of evidence from a range of key stakeholders, including the Government, NHS organisations and trade unions.
Agenda for Change is about much more than basic pay and includes benefits that go well beyond the statutory minimum, for instance, generous holiday allowance and access to a much-valued pension scheme. I want to ensure that the NHS employment offer continues to attract and retain the compassionate and dedicated staff the NHS needs and I have been assured by Government colleagues that this offer continues to be kept under review.