NHS workers have endured working in some of the toughest conditions over the past couple of years and the nation’s appreciation for our NHS is no secret. However, it’s essential that these sacrifices and dedication of these people is appropriately recognised and rewarded.

Campaigners and unions have been fighting for fair pay for years, and last week the UK government accepted recommendations from the independent NHS pay review bodies to increase pay for NHS staff. Here are some of the key points for doctors and nurses:

  • “The average basic pay for nurses will increase from around £35,600 as of March 2022 to around £37,000 and the basic pay for newly qualified nurses will increase by 5.5%, from £25,655 last year to £27,055.”
  • “Dentists and doctors within the Doctors and Dentists’ Remuneration Body (DDRB) remit this year will receive a 4.5% pay… This does not include doctors and dentists in multi-year deals, such as junior doctors.”

[sources: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/nhs-staff-to-receive-pay-rise and https://inews.co.uk/news/public-sector-pay-rise-2022-workers-wage-increase-how-much-nhs-staff-1750629]

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay defended the plan, saying: “We want a fair deal for staff. Very high inflation-driven settlements would have a worse impact on pay packets in the long run than proportionate and balanced increases now, and it is welcome that the pay review bodies agree with this approach.” 

However, critics have noted that this represents a real term cut to salaries with concerns raised that this may result in more healthcare workers leaving the workforce or further industrial action. This would present a worse-case scenario for the NHS, which is already battling staff shortages. A slow in pay increases may fail to attract much-needed staff into the NHS and training and could force more employees to leave the workforce.

There is a balance that needs to be struck between fair pay that is balanced with inflation, as well as needing to ensure that the NHS is an attractive workplace. The NHS needs to ensure that new workers join, and existing staff are retained in the workforce. The work that NHS staff do each and every day is invaluable to society and we believe they should be treated as such.

If you want to have your say on NHS pay, get in touch with your union or professional body.

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