The deal has been made to one million NHS staff members including nurses, porters and paramedics. They will be asked to vote on the offer, with the rises backdated to April if they agree to it. It is a tiered proposal with the lowest paid in line to get a bigger rise.
Broken down it means that half will get 6.5% over three years while the other half will get between 9% and 29%. It will bring the lowest full-time NHS worker to a salary £18,000 – hardly going to qualify them for a home of their own if they work in London.
After four years a nurse will see their pay rise to £27,400 but all NHS workers need to read the small print concerning sickness and absence. This possible ‘catch’ doesn’t seem to have been made perfectly clear yet.
All of this needs to be gauged against the rate of inflation which, at the moment is hovering around 2.9% – well above the Bank of England’s target. Who knows where it will be in three years’ time?
The deal might help to attract new members of staff but for those who have suffered years and years of a pay freeze it might not be quite so attractive. They will have to work out for themselves if it means they catch up to where they would have been. The Royal College of Nursing has calculated that since 2010 their members have seen their pay fall by 14%!
The Hunt has claimed that the £4.2bn is all ‘new’ money. We’ll wait and see just how true that turns out to be. Remember that MPs have manage to get a 1.8% pay rise this year and who knows what over the next three years? We’ll see if the NHS deal actually works out to be a good one.