Vote now on the NHS pay deal

Online poll allows nurses to formally accept or reject proposed £4.2 billion deal

RCN members in England can formally accept or reject the proposed NHS pay deal, as voting opens today. 

Picture: iStock

Around 200,000 members working in NHS hospitals and community services in England are eligible to vote in the online poll.

They have six weeks to cast their vote on the outcome of negotiations between health unions, employers and the government, which could end seven years of pay restraint.

The RCN is recommending the deal along with 12 other unions, with the GMB being the only union not to endorse the £4.2 billion package.

If accepted, the college says the deal would give NHS staff its largest pay rise in ten years – between 6.5% and 29% over a three-year period.

But reaction to the proposed deal on social media has been mixed, particularly from those at the top of their pay bands who will see the lowest rise.

‘The deal is not a silver bullet’

As voting opened, RCN general secretary Janet Davies urged nurses to accept the offer but acknowledged that it would not solve all the problems facing the profession.  

‘The deal is not a silver bullet to cure all ills, nor can it rewrite history,’ she said.  

‘But rejecting it would set back the fight for higher wages by eighteen months or longer, and would leave people worse off.’

Ms Davies added that the proposed pay rates would help attract a new generation of nurses.

‘When there are 40,000 unfilled nurse jobs in England alone, voting yes to the best rise in a decade will go some way to making nursing an attractive career again,’ she said.

The pay deal 

  • Nurses already at the top of their pay bands – who account for around half of all NHS staff – 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 a 22% increase (£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
  • If accepted, the first higher salary payments would be made in July and backdated to the start of the current financial year


RCN members can begin voting on the pay deal from 10.30am today. Voting closes on 5 June.

The deal being voted on only applies to England, but other UK nations are considering what the proposal will mean for their NHS staff.

The Scottish Government had indicated its intention to negotiate a pay deal that ensures NHS staff in Scotland will be paid at least as much as their counterparts in other parts of the UK. 

Funding for a pay rise in one country would, in theory, flow through to the other UK countries via the Barnett Formula, which makes adjustments for public expenditure across the UK.

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