NHS pay rises will value £4bn and shall be funded from ‘areas of underspending’, govt says

The federal government wants to seek out £4bn in spare money to fund NHS pay rises, with a few of it coming from “areas of underspend”.

The one-off fee offered to frontline workers on Thursday will value £2.7bn, Downing Avenue has mentioned, whereas the 5% pay rise will value £1.3bn.

A 3.5% pay improve had already been factored into the present finances earlier than a brand new deal was put to well being unions, leaving ministers scrambling to seek out the remaining.

Requested the place the cash will come from, the PM’s spokesperson mentioned “areas of underspending” had been recognized.

They didn’t go into specifics however added “we are going to talk about with Treasury and work collectively to resolve any new funding wants”.

Pressed on the supply of the funding once more, they mentioned the cash is “not coming from patient-facing providers”.

Ministers beforehand mentioned they can not afford to present putting NHS employees a pay rise as a result of the cash must be taken out of the present NHS finances – which was not thought-about an possibility at a time of record-high waiting lists.

However there was a serious breakthrough on Thursday as the federal government and unions reached a brand new deal that could herald the end of industrial action throughout many of the well being service.

The provide consists of a one-off fee of two% of their wage plus a COVID restoration bonus of 4% for the present monetary 12 months 2022/23, and a 5% pay improve for 2023/24.

Workers on the picket line outside Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham during a strike by nurses and ambulance staff. Picture date: Monday February 6, 2023.
Picture: The federal government has insisted the pay deal to finish strikes will not come out of the finances for affected person providers

Well being Secretary Steve Barclay mentioned it’ll apply to hundreds of key employees together with nurses, paramedics and midwives however couldn’t say how the rise can be funded.

When questioned on this he deferred to the Treasury, saying solely that it “wouldn’t come from areas of the finances that impression on sufferers”.

The prime minister gave an identical reply when pressed throughout a go to to a south London hospital on whether or not affected person care can be hit, saying: “Completely not. We will be ensuring we shield all frontline providers with £14bn of extra funding we introduced on the finish of final 12 months.”

Most unions have really useful members vote for the pay rise, and have agreed to pause industrial motion throughout that course of.

Solely Unite mentioned it couldn’t suggest the deal to its membership however mentioned a vote would in the end determine the union’s place on the provide.

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Junior medical doctors have welcomed pay talks with the Well being Secretary and are ‘hopeful’ the dispute may be resolved to avert additional strikes.

Tens of hundreds of nurses, paramedics and different healthcare employees went on strike simply earlier than Christmas, then once more in January and February, resulting in the cancellation of round 140,000 appointments and operations.

Labour criticised the federal government for delays in getting across the negotiating desk, with shadow well being secretary Wes Streeting branding his authorities counterpart “lastminute.com Steve Barclay”.

Chatting with Sky Information, he accused the well being secretary of “having cheek” by deferring questions on how the pay rise shall be funded to the Treasury, including: “Newsflash Steve Barclay, the finances was yesterday.

“If he pulled his finger out earlier than Christmas and negotiated a deal, not solely would we’ve got prevented the strike motion and the 140,000 cancelled operations and appointments, he might need obtained a greater deal for the NHS.”

The breakthrough has sparked hopes of resolving different long-running industrial disputes, with the federal government and schooling unions beginning “intensive” talks today on pay and conditions.

Requested whether or not a proposal to lecturers may look just like the NHS deal, the PM’s spokesperson burdened that every pay provide is “distinctive”, and the two-pronged settlement is “particular to the work NHS employees have achieved”.

Requested if that recognition will apply to junior medical doctors, who’re embroiled in a separate dispute, the spokesperson mentioned: “We wish talks to start out as quickly as doable nevertheless it’s depending on them cancelling or pausing strikes. As quickly as they pause strike motion we are able to have talks.”


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