Editorial

Is this the best pay offer NHS nurses can hope for? Yes, probably

The NHS pay proposal clearly doesn’t please everyone, but it is almost certainly the best deal that can be done – for now

The NHS pay proposal clearly doesn’t please everyone, but it is almost certainly the best deal that can be done – for now

The consultation on a proposed pay deal for NHS staff in England is in full swing, with those who are sceptical about the offer dominating discussions on social media. The views of the more apathetic majority are harder to gauge, but for now we have to assume that the three-year deal may not be accepted.


Join the conversation on Facebook

 


In case you missed it, the government in England and negotiators representing 13 of the 14 health unions have reached agreement on an offer of 3% this year and 1.7% in each of the next two, which taken together represents a 6.5% increase by 2020.

Less than 12 months ago, prime minister Theresa May stood in front of a live TV audience insisting there was no ‘magic money tree’ and that she was committed to her policy of capping future public sector rises at 1% a year. The general election result in June, and the monumental success of the RCN’s Scrap the Cap campaign that followed, forced her to rethink.

Best deal in the public sector

At face value, the 6.5% offer represents a good deal – it’s worth more than double what was previously on the table, and is better than any other offer being made to public sector staff.

However, the devil in the deal’s detail means it is proving a hard sell. An uplift to the starting salaries for newly qualified staff and reduction in the number of increments mean some nurses will be 29% better off in three years’ time.

Great news for them, but some of those already at the top of their pay bands have been left feeling aggrieved. This group largely comprises nurses who have stayed in the profession through the years of austerity, while their standard of living has fallen, and workloads have risen. I feel their pain.

Nonetheless, the harsh reality is that this is almost certainly the best deal that can be done, for now, with this government. When union members vote over the coming weeks, they will have to balance the risk of rejecting an offer from which every nurse will benefit (some more than others), with the danger that everyone will lose out.


Read more

This is a free article for registered users

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this? You can register for free access.

Jobs