India markets closed
  • BSE SENSEX

    48,544.06
    +660.66 (+1.38%)
     
  • Nifty 50

    14,504.80
    +194.00 (+1.36%)
     
  • USD/INR

    75.1410
    -0.1190 (-0.16%)
     
  • Dow

    33,677.27
    -68.13 (-0.20%)
     
  • Nasdaq

    13,996.10
    +146.10 (+1.05%)
     
  • BTC-INR

    4,857,782.00
    +143,760.00 (+3.05%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    1,395.28
    +101.29 (+7.83%)
     
  • Hang Seng

    28,900.83
    +403.58 (+1.42%)
     
  • Nikkei

    29,620.99
    -130.61 (-0.44%)
     
  • EUR/INR

    89.8850
    -0.0816 (-0.09%)
     
  • GBP/INR

    103.3493
    -0.1347 (-0.13%)
     
  • AED/INR

    20.4200
    -0.0260 (-0.13%)
     
  • INR/JPY

    1.4469
    +0.0008 (+0.06%)
     
  • SGD/INR

    56.2050
    +0.0840 (+0.15%)
     

Unions attack 'pitiful' 1% pay rise proposed for NHS staff

Denis Campbell and Jessica Elgot
·3-min read
<span>Photograph: Graeme Robertson/The Guardian</span>
Photograph: Graeme Robertson/The Guardian

The government is embroiled in a row with NHS staff after deciding they should get only a 1% pay rise next year, despite Boris Johnson’s effusive praise for their efforts during the pandemic.

Nurses and doctors accused ministers of not valuing health service personnel highly enough after the recommendation that more than 1 million staff should receive only a small increase.

“This is pitiful and bitterly disappointing. The government is dangerously out of touch with nursing staff, NHS workers and the public. The government can expect a backlash from a million NHS workers,” said Dame Donna Kinnair, the chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing.

The Department of Health and Social Care has submitted its proposal to the NHS pay review body, which will decide in May how much of a salary uplift the vast majority of NHS staff across the UK should get in 2021-22. The 1% rise would apply to all staff apart from junior doctors, GPs and dentists.

Kinnair said that if the review body accepted the department’s advice, “a pay award as poor as this would amount to only an extra £3.50 per week take-home pay for an experienced nurse. Nobody would think that is fair in the middle of a pandemic. Nursing staff would feel they are being punished and made to pay for the cost of the pandemic. Nursing deserves a 12.5% increase.”

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the chair of council at the British Medical Association, said: “This is a total dereliction of the government’s moral duty and obligation to a workforce that is keeping the NHS on its feet and patients alive.

“This comes as a kick in the teeth after a decade in which doctors have experienced real-terms pay cuts of up to 30% and in the same week as the chancellor has announced a huge increase in the taxation on doctor’s pensions that will leave virtually all doctors worse off.”

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, had hinted that NHS staff would only get a small rise next year when he said the size of it should be determined by “affordability”.

NHS Providers, which speaks for hospital trusts in England, said the 1% rise risked encouraging even more staff to quit the service.

Health unions reacted angrily to the 1% proposal. “A 1% pay rise is the worst kind of insult the government could give health workers who’ve given their absolute everything over the past year. The public will be horrified. Staff will think it’s some kind of joke,” said Sara Gorton, the head of health at Unison.

Gail Cartmail, Unite’s assistant general secretary, said the proposal was “callous” and “an enormous slap in the face”.

Meanwhile, NHS bosses claim Rishi Sunak has broken his pledge to give the NHS “whatever it takes” to fight Covid-19 after he did not increase the service’s core funding in Wednesday’s budget.

Danny Mortimer, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents health service trusts in England, said: “Last year the chancellor promised ‘absolutely’ and ‘categorically’ to give the NHS ‘whatever resources’ it needed to get through the crisis. Today this promise seems to have evaporated.”

NHS experts say it has been left with too little money to properly tackle the massive backlog of surgery postponed during the pandemic’s first and second waves or to expand mental health care for the significantly increased number of people with psychological problems.

Siva Anandaciva, the chief analyst at the King’s Fund thinktank, said the Treasury was likely to have to give the NHS an unscheduled increase in funding during 2021-22 to help it cope with rising demand, and the budget “will not be the final word on spending for next year”.