NHS pay rise: Who decides what nurses should be paid?


3% pay rise for NHS staff in England is recognition “for their pandemic contribution during an unprecedented year” the Government has said, but the uplift has proved controversial.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the pay rise was despite a wider public sector pay pause, but Labour and unions have been quick to condemn the move.

Here, we answer some key questions around the offer:

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it had accepted recommendations of independent review bodies and would be giving NHS staff in England a 3% pay rise backdated to April.

It means the “average nurse” will receive an additional £1,000 a year, while many porters and cleaners will get around £540, the DHSC said.

In a statement, minister for Care Helen Whately said: “Our NHS staff have worked incredibly hard to fight the pandemic for over eighteen months and I’m glad to confirm we are accepting the pay review bodies’ recommendations in full this year, so staff in their remit will receive a 3% pay rise.”

How is NHS pay decided?

Independent bodies – the NHS Pay Review Body and the Review Body for Doctors’ and Dentists’ Renumeration – make non-binding recommendations to the Government, having taken advice from Government departments, unions and others.

The Government’s own recommendation to the pay review body, of a 1% increase, proved controversial in March.

Who is and isn’t covered by the pay rise?

The pay rise is for nurses, paramedics, consultants, and dentists in England and does not cover doctors and dentists in training.

Is it the same in the other nations?

Health spending is devolved, so pay is a matter for parliaments in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.


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