Pay to finally increase – if deal is agreed across England

Nurses in England are set to see minimum pay rises of 6.5%, rising to as much as 29% – if they accept a new three-year £4.2 billion pay deal

Nurses in England are set to see minimum pay rises of 6.5%, rising to as much as 29% – if they accept a new three-year £4.2 billion pay deal which has been agreed by unions, employer and government.

Josie Irwin, Sara Gorton and Danny Mortimer at the press conference today. 
Picture: Barney Newman

After seven years of pay restraint, the proposals pick up previous commitments to reform the Agenda for Change pay system, and have been welcomed by nurses at a press conference in London this morning.

RCN associate director for employment relations Josie Irwin said the deal gives the message to all staff that they are valued by their employers and by members of the public.

Speaking at the NHS Staff Council meeting, where the press briefing was held, Ms Irwin said: ‘This pay deal is all about getting people to the top of pay bands faster.’

See how your pay will change here

The proposed deal

  • Nurses already at the top of their pay bands will receive the lowest pay rise of 6.5% delivered over a three-year term: 3% in the first year, 1.7% in the second year, as well as a lump sum of 1.1%, and 1.7% in the final year
  • The other half of the nursing workforce will receive rises of between 9% and 29% depending on where they sit in their pay bands
  • There will be improved starting salaries for all bands – newly qualified band five nurses will receive 22% (£4,842) over the three years
  • The deal will not affect nurses’ annual leave entitlements or antisocial hours payment and hospitals will not be expected to find funds from existing resources


RCN chief executive Janet Davies said: ‘Today’s deal is neither a magic wand nor a blank cheque, but commits significant government cash to overlooked NHS staff without making any unpalatable demands in return.

‘For that reason, we will be asking members to vote in favour.’

'End at last'

UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said: ‘This agreement means an end at last to the government’s self-defeating and unfair 1% pay cap.

‘It won’t solve every problem in the NHS, but would go a long way towards making dedicated health staff feel more valued, lift flagging morale and help turn the tide on employers’ staffing problems.

‘If members accept, we anticipate increases will be in salaries from July.’

Ms Gorton added that the proposals concern staff in England, but impact across whole of UK. If agreed in England, money would flow through to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland via the Barnett Formula, which makes adjustments to public expenditure in the devolved nations.

What do nurses think of the deal?

Band 7 neonatal intensive care sister Tracey Budding told Nursing Standard it was ‘the best deal’ that nurses could have hoped for.

Ms Budding will receive the lowest, 6.5%, pay increase as she is at the top of her band, but said it was not about individual profit, but the whole system change.

‘Nurses go above and beyond every shift and work unpaid overtime to ensure patients are safe – this goes some way to valuing and respecting what nurses do on a daily basis.’

Band 6 nurse teaching fellow Michael Appleby, a former district nurse, said he felt the deal would finally start to tackle some of the recruitment and retention issues nursing suffered from.

‘This three-year pay deal may start to address some of these concerns and hopefully will start to value nurses in this profession.’

NHS Employers chief executive Danny Mortimer said the deal would benefit more than one million staff in the NHS.

‘It will also ensure that existing staff receive deserved increases to pay, which will assist our work to value and retain these vital colleagues.’

He added that he looked forward to discussions taking place in the other UK nations.

Recognition of hard work

Health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt said: 'NHS staff have never worked harder and this deal is recognition of that – alongside some important modernisation of the way their contracts work.'

He said the starting salary of a nurse will rise to £24,907, which would 'have a significant impact on retention and recruitment issues'.

The 14 NHS unions will now consult their members about whether they want to accept the deal and only the GMB won’t recommend they accept.

From 2013, public sector pay rises were capped at 1%, which last year led to a vigorous campaign by the RCN and other unions using the threat of industrial action.

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