Public sector pay rises announced

NHS staff will receive at least £1,400 but unions say it amounts to a real terms pay cut.

19 July 2022

More than one million NHS staff – including nurses, paramedics and midwives – will receive a pay rise of at least £1,400 with lowest earners to receive up to 9.3%, the Government has announced.

Eligible dentists and doctors will receive a 4.5% pay rise, while other awards includes a 5% increase for the police.

Health unions said the announcement amounts to a real terms pay cut.

The Government said it had accepted recommendations from the independent NHS pay review bodies in full, adding that the pay rise recognises the contribution of NHS staff while balancing the need to protect taxpayers, manage public spending and not drive up inflation.

GP surgery stock
Eligible dentists and doctors will receive a 4.5% pay rise (PA)

The lowest earners, such as porters and cleaners, will see a 9.3% increase in their basic pay this year, compared to last year, said the Department for Health.

The average basic pay for nurses will increase from around £35,600 as of March 2022 to around £37,000 and the basic pay for newly qualified nurses will increase by 5.5%, from £25,655 last year to £27,055.

Dentists and doctors will receive a 4.5% pay rise.

The Government said across the public sector, these are the highest pay rises in nearly 20 years.

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, which is part of the NHS Confederation, said: “We welcome an increase in pay for hardworking and overstretched NHS staff beyond the 3% uplift originally budgeted for.

“However, NHS and public health leaders cannot be put into the impossible position of having to choose which services they will cut back on in order to fund the additional rise.

“NHS employers have only been allocated enough money to award staff a 3% rise, so unless the extra increase is funded by the Treasury, very worryingly this will have to be drawn from existing budgets and will mean an estimated unplanned £1.8 billion shortfall.”

The British Dental Association said the 4.5% pay rise for dentists is “derisory”, warning it will accelerate the workforce crisis facing NHS dentistry across the UK.

Unison’s head of health Sara Gorton said: “This is nowhere ​near what’s needed to save the NHS.

“Demoralised ​and depleted health workers needed to know that ministers are serious about solving the staffing crisis and investing in the future. The way to do that was through a significant pay award.

“With the pandemic barely behind us and the growing cost-of-living catastrophe, NHS staff, their bank accounts ​and health services are all running on empty.

“The Government’s shown it’s prepared to sit by and watch waiting lists grow, ambulance call times ​lengthen and patient suffering increase.

“Many will be seriously considering industrial action after this pitiful increase and a majority of the public will be behind them.

​”Ministers can’t continue to allow wages to fall and expect staff still ​to be there. The simple formula for recruiting and retaining enough staff to tackle the treatment backlog ​and avoiding a damaging dispute is to ensure NHS workers have a decent pay rise. ​This isn’t it.”

Assistant director at the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Elaine Sparkes said: “NHS workers have made it clear that a pay award like this is nowhere near enough in the current climate, being substantially less than the current and predicted level of inflation.

“We’ve told the Government that – as have tens of thousands of people who took to the streets last month demanding a fair deal for workers.

“But still it presses on with an award that will cut the real value of take home pay for ​health staff and potentially put patient care at risk as the workforce crisis in the NHS deepens.

“Health unions will now consult members on what action they wish to take to ensure the extraordinary efforts of NHS staff are fairly rewarded.”

Laurence Turner, of the GMB, said: “An offer below inflation is a cut by another name. Recruitment and retention problems are now severe across the public sector and ministers are failing to invest in the services that the economic recovery needs.

“Real NHS wages have fallen by 15% since 2010 and workers are risking their lives to protect patients. Key workers have been driven to loans and food banks to make ends meet – they deserve so much better than this.

“GMB will now ballot our members on the offer, but there should be no doubt – everyone has their breaking point, and without a fundamental change we will not be able to deliver the public services that the country needs.”

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The Government promised rewards for the dedication of the public sector workforce during the pandemic. What they have delivered instead, in real terms, is a kick in the teeth.

“The so-called wage offer amounts to a massive national pay cut. We expected the inevitable betrayal, but the scale of it is an affront.

“During the pandemic, public sector workers were correctly lauded as heroes. They were sent out to deal with the pandemic and did so despite the imminent dangers they faced. Now they are being asked to pay for the crisis with this national pay cut.”

More from Perspective

Get a free copy of our print edition


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Your email address will not be published. The views expressed in the comments below are not those of Perspective. We encourage healthy debate, but racist, misogynistic, homophobic and other types of hateful comments will not be published.