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One-off pay rise for ‘superhuman efforts’ of Northern Ireland nurses

Additional payment for pandemic work is welcomed by staff, but the RCN wants to see ‘meaningful discussions on a long-term pay structure’

Additional payment for pandemic work is welcomed by staff, but the RCN wants to see ‘meaningful discussions on a long-term pay structure’

Nurses in Northern Ireland are set to receive an additional pay rise in recognition of their ‘superhuman efforts’ during the pandemic – but many say the one-off boost does not address wider pay concerns.

Northern Ireland health minister Robin Swann announced he is setting aside £25 million from his department’s budget to fund an extra payment for healthcare workers .

Nurses will receive a pay increase of up to 1.5%

The move will mean a rise of between 0.5% and 1.5% for nursing staff in 2021-22 – backdated to

Additional payment for pandemic work is welcomed by staff, but the RCN wants to see ‘meaningful discussions on a long-term pay structure’

Nurses in Northern Ireland are set to receive an additional pay rise in recognition of their ‘superhuman efforts’ during the pandemic – but many say the one-off boost does not address wider pay concerns.

Northern Ireland health minister Robin Swann announced he is setting aside £25 million from his department’s budget to fund an extra payment for healthcare workers.

Nurses will receive a pay increase of up to 1.5%

The move will mean a rise of between 0.5% and 1.5% for nursing staff in 2021-22 – backdated to April last year.

This is on top of the 3% pay award for those on Agenda for Change contracts in Northern Ireland, which was confirmed in November 2021.

Support workers and healthcare assistants on the lowest salaries will see the biggest increase in pay with an extra 1.5% for those in band 1 to 3 roles. Nurses and others in band 4 to 7 roles will get an extra 1%, while all other directly employed health and social care staff, including senior nurses, will get an additional 0.5%.

It is a non-consolidated pay uplift, which means it is a one-off addition to a nurse’s basic salary – akin to a bonus – and will not count towards their pension or overtime calculations.

The announcement comes amid widespread dissatisfaction with NHS pay, with nurses threatening strike action in response to a 3% rise in England and Wales, and 4% increase in Scotland.

‘Piecemeal’ pay awards are not enough, RCN says

RCN Northern Ireland director Rita Devlin said: ‘While this additional, one-off payment will be cautiously welcomed by some, the overall pay award remains at 3%.

‘Rather than piecemeal, non-consolidated pay awards, we need to see meaningful discussions on a long-term pay structure that will close the gap created by increased inflation and costs of living.’

RCN Northern Ireland is in the process of balloting members on whether a 3% pay award is acceptable. The ballot closes on 10 February.

Government praises nurses for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic

In a letter to Northern Ireland health and social care staff, Mr Swann pledged he would ‘continue to fight with all my energy’ for better wages for staff who had displayed superhuman efforts.

‘While this additional funding is, in part, an acknowledgement of the particular challenges you have faced, I’m very aware that there could never be enough to truly repay you for the sacrifices of the last two years,’ he wrote.


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