NHS Pay Review Body should 'target' pay awards, says government

Health minister Lord Prior wrote to the NHS Pay Review Body (RB) today setting out its remit for the 2016/17 pay round.

The independent NHS Pay Review Body (RB) has been asked to target public sector pay awards in England in 2016/17 to aid recruitment and retention of staff.

The Department of Health today published the letter from parliamentary under secretary of state for NHS productivity Lord Prior to the RB, setting out the RB's remit for the 2016/17 pay round. 

The RB makes recommendations to the government on how to set NHS pay.

Lord Prior's letter confirmed that the government will only fund an increase in NHS pay which averages out at an extra 1% annually across the workforce until 2020. 

He said the RB should consider how an award 'might best be targeted to support recruitment and retention'.

Chief secretary to the Treasury Greg Hands previously said that the government expects that some NHS staff could get a pay rise of more than 1% in 2016/17 and in subsequent rounds up to 2020, while some could get less.

Mr Hands said not all staff should expect to get a 1% award.

Lord Prior wrote to the RB: 'The government has made it clear that pay restraint in the public sector continues to be a crucial part of its plans to reduce the deficit.

'I appreciate that this presents particular challenges, but your expert, impartial and independent judgement is vital as employers and staff respond to the unprecedented challenges facing the NHS.' 

The letter only applies to the RB's remit for England and an RB spokesperson said the other UK governments were yet to send their remit letters for 2016/17.

An RB spokesperson said it was not expecting to receive the other remit letters before chancellor George Osborne presents his spending review on November 25.

The RB plans to return its report to ministers by mid-February next year and the government will decide when to publish the findings.

Lord Prior also wrote to the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration Body today setting out its remit for 2016/17. 

The letter to the RB can be viewed here and to the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration Body here.

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