THE Health Minister Eluned Morgan has accepted the recommendations of NHS pay review bodies and is today announcing a pay rise for NHS staff in Wales.
The recommendation of the NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB), for all NHS staff on Agenda for Change terms and conditions – including nurses, cleaners, porters, healthcare support workers and healthcare professionals, is for a £1,400 pay rise on most pay grades.
But the Health Minister said the Welsh Government will implement this recommendation on top of the Real Living Wage top-up previously announced, which came into effect in April.
For the lowest paid staff (bands 1 to 4), which make up nearly half of the Agenda for Change workforce, this will on average equate to a 7.5% pay rise on pay grades.
The starting salary for the lowest paid roles in band 1 and the bottom of band 2 in NHS Wales will now be £20,758, this equates to a pay rise of 10.8% this financial year for this band and would make Wales the highest paying UK nation for the lowest pay bands in the NHS.
For staff at the top of band 6 and in band 7, the £1,400 payment will be enhanced to be equivalent to a 4% pay rise.
Following a series of meetings with trade unions and representative bodies this week, the Welsh Government has committed to continue to explore a range of other issues raised as part of those discussions.
The Health Minister has also agreed the recommendations of the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body (DDRB) to increase pay by 4.5% for junior doctors, consultants, GPs and dentists employed directly by the health boards.
Health Minister Eluned Morgan said:
“We are committed to working in social partnership and will continue to use our social partnership structures and bring together trade unions, employers and government to deliver the best possible outcomes for our NHS staff. I want to thank trade unions and representative bodies for taking the time to meet me this week and for the constructive discussions we have had.
Our NHS staff have worked incredibly hard throughout the pandemic to keep us all safe and they continue to provide an incredible service in the face of intense pressures.
I hope this pay award goes some way to recognise their hard work but without additional funding from the UK Government, there are inevitably limits to how far we can go in Wales. We continue to press them to pass on the full funding necessary for fair pay rises for public sector workers.
We are all facing a cost-of-living crisis. We have structured this pay award so the lowest paid staff in the NHS would see the biggest uplift in their pay, equivalent to a 10.8% pay rise, making the NHS in Wales the highest-paying UK nation for staff in the lowest pay bands.”
Despite not being within the DDRB’s remit, specialty and specialist doctors on the 2021 contract will receive a one-off £1,400 payment in recognition of the unprecedented cost-of-living crisis. Specialty doctors on the 2008 contract will receive a 4.5% pay increase, but those on the top pay grade in the 2008 contract will receive a one-off payment equivalent to 4.5%.
The recommended 4.5% pay uplift in pay for contracted GPs and dentists is subject to overall contract changes by the General Medical and General Dental Services and negotiations are ongoing.
The Health Minister has made clear that staff working within general practice, dental teams and community pharmacies across Wales should receive a fair, proportionate and equitable pay uplift.
Plaid Cymru Health and Care spokesperson Rhun ap Iorwerth MS responded to the announcement, saying:
“Any pay award that is below inflation is a significant pay cut in real terms. This will be a bitter blow for healthcare workers who have shown so much dedication during such an unprecedented and challenging time.
“In addition to ensuring that salaries catch-up with today’s living costs, there also needed to be an uplift to make up for a decade and more of cuts. The Welsh Government have failed to do that in recent years and now, as the cost-of-living soars, it is our front-line workers who are bearing the brunt.”