Cap on English NHS staff pay to be scrapped

Beckett Frith, HR Magazine October 12, 2017

The move follows a letter delivered to chancellor Philip Hammond last month signed by 14 unions

The health secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced that the cap on NHS staff pay is to be scrapped.

He told MPs on Tuesday that the current system “wasn’t sustainable” and would come to an end next year for England’s 1.4 million NHS staff.
The move follows a letter delivered to chancellor Philip Hammond last month, signed by 14 unions, demanding a pay rise of almost four per cent for a million NHS workers, and a one-off payment of £800 to compensate for money they lost out on during the austerity era.

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, described the announcement as “helpful”.

“It is helpful to receive this confirmation from the secretary of state, which echoes the messages to the pay review bodies from his colleague the chief secretary to the Treasury,” he told HR magazine. “Employers will await further details in the Budget and through the deliberations of the pay review bodies.

“The NHS is clear, however, that additional investment is needed to support pay awards above the present pay cap. We are also clear that alongside action that we are taking locally, national support is needed in other areas to improve both supply and retention.

“The recent announcement on access to affordable housing for NHS employees is extremely welcome in that regard, as are the proposed improvements to language testing for nurses. We also repeat our call for reversal of the recent disinvestment in CPD funding.”

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said the government should ensure all health workers benefit from this announcement.

“Scrapping the pay cap is the right thing to do, but it’s only meaningful if workers receive proper pay rises,” he said. “The government’s announcement looks worryingly like a smoke and mirrors move, with talk of ‘productivity improvements’. NHS staff, patients and services shouldn’t be made to suffer to fund a pay rise. And the government can’t cherry pick lifting the cap for health workers. This cap has to be scrapped, and replaced with decent pay rises for all public service workers.”

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