Reports that government planning 5% NHS pay award – Nursing Times

‘This is a situation that cannot go on indefinitely’
18 July, 2022 By
Source:&nbsp JessicaGirvan /
The government is reportedly planning to provide NHS nurses with a 5% pay award for 2022-23, however unions have warned that such an offer would not be “remotely acceptable”.
This comes after the Financial Times reported that prime minister Boris Johnson will this week offer pay rises averaging around 5% to millions of public sector workers, before parliament breaks for the summer recess on 21 July.
The pay offer is higher than what was originally proposed by the government, which recommended a 2-3% pay award in its submission to the NHS Pay Review Body in March.
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However, health leaders have warned of the consequences of a 5% pay award, as it does not match the rate of inflation and the context of the current cost-of-living crisis.

Pat Cullen
Royal College of Nursing general secretary and chief executive, Pat Cullen, said: “Millions of optimistic workers will be hoping these crushing reports are entirely inaccurate.
“Their work and current personal hardship warrants better from government.”
She added: “Nursing staff would not find this remotely acceptable.
“Years of pay cuts from ministers should not be capped off with yet another real-terms fall in salaries.
“There are tens of thousands of vacant nurse jobs and this treatment pushes more out of the profession.”
A 5% pay award would match that offered to NHS staff in Scotland for 2022-23 by the Scottish Government, which has broken away from UK-wide pay negotiations.
However, Ms Cullen highlighted how unions in the country, including RCN Scotland, were calling on their members to reject the pay offer and vote for industrial action.
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“Ministers in Westminster still have the opportunity to see the writing on the wall and do the right thing by nursing,” said Ms Cullen.
The Financial Times reported that the Treasury will not be providing extra funding for this pay increase, and has insisted that it must come from existing budgets for 2022-23, set last autumn.
Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said: “It’s deeply concerning that reports suggest the Treasury won’t be providing more funding for the NHS and public health services to cover pay increases.
“That puts NHS leaders in the impossible position of having to choose which services they will take money from in order to fund any pay increase.
“Based on allocations at the last Spending Review, the NHS has been funded to pay for a settlement of 3%. Any award over this percentage, without additional funding, will cost the NHS somewhere between £900m and a billion pounds.”
“Ministers in Westminster still have the opportunity to see the writing on the wall and do the right thing by nursing”
Pat Cullen
The announcement of the pay rise comes as a poll reveals that more than half (55%) of the public believe that an above-inflation pay rise for NHS staff of more than 9% would be a fair increase.
The research on behalf of 13 of the UK’s health unions – which represent around a million NHS staff – shows this compares with just over a quarter (28%) of people who say a below-inflation rise would be fair.
Additionally, seven in 10 of the respondents (69%) back a wage increase of more than 5%.
According to the findings, almost three in five (58%) UK adults believe health workers would be justified in taking industrial action if the government pay award in England is below inflation.
Unison head of health and chair of the NHS group of unions, Sara Gorton, said: “The public clearly supports an above-inflation pay rise across the NHS.
“People say they would also be behind NHS staff should they opt for strike action if a decent increase isn’t forthcoming.
“Ministers must act now rather than stumble into a dispute no-one wants to see.”
A government spokesperson said: “The government wants a fair pay deal for nurses, doctors and the taxpayer, and is carefully considering the recommendations from the independent pay review bodies.
“We are incredibly grateful to all NHS staff and they received a 3% pay rise last year – increasing nurses’ pay by £1,000 on average despite a public sector pay freeze – and we are giving NHS workers another pay rise this year.”
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