Pay rise for staff on Agenda for Change contracts outside NHS

NHS pay deal to be extended to nurses employed by arm’s-length providers
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NHS pay deal to be extended to nurses employed by arm's-length providers

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The three-year NHS pay deal will now be extended to staff on Agenda for Change (AfC) contracts who are not directly employed by the NHS.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DH) announced the release of £800 million to fund the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay increase for non-NHS staff for 2018/19. However, the following two years of the pay deal will now come from the government’s recently announced £20.5 billion NHS long-term funding settlement.

Parity with NHS-employed staff

This means AfC staff not directly employed by the NHS will have pay parity with NHS worker, with the DH document stating any pay arrears will be backdated to April and paid in August. This might prove an ambitious payment date because employers will be required to apply to the DH to receive the funding to pay their staff, once they have established they are eligible.

Last month, nurses on AfC contracts voted to accept a deal that gives them a pay rise of at least 6.5%.

RCN general secretary Janet Davies warned this latest announcement would not eliminate nurses' pay disparity.

Fairer pay ‘one step closer’

‘We welcome the government’s decision to fund a pay rise for nurses and care assistants who are not directly employed by the NHS. This is a further step towards fairer pay, but it is not the end of the road,' she said.

'We have an ageing population, and more and more people rely on services provided by social enterprises, charities, general practice, and social care. But only staff at organisations delivering care directly funded by the NHS will benefit from today’s step.

'Recruitment and retention issues are crippling the wider care sector, and it is hardly surprising staff turnover is so high when many care staff receive only the minimum wage.

'Safe and effective patient care relies on well-staffed services. To improve recruitment and retention, and bring stability to the health and social care sector, ministers must now find funding for a fair pay deal for nursing staff working across social and primary care.'

‘We’ll pay as quickly as possible’

A DH spokesperson said the department would aim to process employers' applications for funding as quickly as possible.

NHS Partners Network chief executive, David Hare: 'We, alongside other organisations representing non-statutory providers of NHS services, are working with the DH on the details of the pay deal’s extension.

'The guidance on the qualifying criteria and application process will be important in clarifying how the arrangements will work in practice.'

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