This site is intended for health professionals only

Calls for end to pay freeze slammed by NHS Employers

24 September 2013

Share this article

The NHS Staff Council has called for an end to the ongoing NHS pay freeze amid claims many staff are “struggling to keep their heads above water”.  

Recent figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre found that qualified nurses have received just a 0.6% wage increase since 2012, bringing their wage to £30,619. 

Senior managers on average received a 1.4% increase, bringing their average wage to £75,759. 

Trade unions, including Unite and the NHS Staff Council have asked the Pay Review Body to look into the NHS pay cap, which began in 2006. 

A statement from the NHS Staff council says staff will have suffered a real-terms pay cut of 8-12% by 2014. 

Josie Irwin, joint secretary of the NHS Staff Council said: “Frontline staff continue to work hard providing patient care throughout a period of uncertainty, and on top of this are struggling to cope financially as pay continues to fall behind inflation.

“Claiming that fair wages cannot be afforded, while the latest figures show senior managers have enjoyed substantial pay increases, sends the message to frontline staff that their contributions are not valued, which is bad for staff and bad for the NHS.”

But NHS Employers believes that increasing staff pay would damage job security as well as patient care. 

‘Battered and bruised’

NHS Employers has urged the pay review body to freeze NHS pay next year. 

Figures released by the organisation show that a 1% increase in pay would increase the NHS pay bill by £500 million. 

Dean Royles, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, said: “I would love it if we could increase pay for our incredibly hard working staff. As employers we want them to feel valued and recognise that months of negative publicity have left them feeling battered and bruised. We know pay increases are important financially and emotionally. But we also know a one per cent pay increase would add around £500 million of additional costs next year – the equivalent of over 15,000 nurses or almost 5,000 consultant doctors.

“We are already seeing considerable pressure on our ability to maintain staffing numbers and any such increase is bound to add to the pressure, impact on patient care and undermine job security. So a pay increase is not appropriate this year. If the pay review is minded to increase pay, we have asked that this be deferred to facilitate pay reform and support negotiations on terms and conditions rather than adding it directly to pay scales.”

The NHS Staff Council and NHS Employers submitted evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body today and will submit further evidence to the Doctors and Dentists Review Body later this week.