Nearly 100,000 NHS staff in east of England set for pay rise
- Credit: PA
Nearly 100,000 staff in the east of England's NHS are set for a wage rise after health unions recommended a pay offer worth up to 29pc over three years.
A proposed deal on pay was reached yesterday between the NHS and 14 unions - signalling the end of the government's controversial public sector pay cap which has limited raises to 1pc for the last seven years.
Under the deal the lowest-paid staff, such as porters and cleaners, will get a pay increase of 15pc.
Half of NHS workers are at the top of their pay band so will receive a 6.5pc increase.
The other half will get between 9pc and 29pc, with midwives and physiotherapists among those in line for the biggest increase.
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Joan Pons Laplana, a nurse and clinical project manager at James Paget Hospital in Gorleston, said there were winners and losers in the announcement.
But he urged caution over the larger figures which he feared included money which would come from moving up a pay band regardless.
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Mr Laplana said: 'The government has been very clever. Some will receive a substantial payrise but for some it's below inflation.'
He pointed to people such as cleaners and porters - who would not have the clinical skills to progress through pay bands.
He added: 'The unions should provide a deal for all, these people are vital to the NHS. Some people are going to be poorer in three years time and I don't think that's acceptable.'
And he said although the deal was not bad, there were other issues which needing addressing to plug the recruitment crisis in the NHS, including Brexit and filling existing training places.
He said: 'Jeremy Hunt may have put a load of water into the bucket, but the bucket is still full of holes.'
Unions including Unite, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), the Royal College of Midwives and Unison accepted the deal after months of tense talks behind the scenes.
Helen Maw, RCN senior officer for Norfolk and Suffolk, said the previous pay cap left staff feeling 'undervalued and struggling to cope financially'.
Although the majority welcomed the move one union - the GMB - advised members to reject the deal and said it was a real terms pay cut.
The deal, to be rolled out from April 1, will mean that every eligible NHS worker is paid at least £8.93 an hour – higher than the voluntary living wage of £8.75.
This includes those in the lowest pay band of £15,404 to £15,671, generally porters and cleaners.
It is proposed the lowest band be scrapped and every staff member move up a grade.
But the deal does not apply to doctors, dentists, or senior NHS leaders.
The highest band pays between £79,415 – £100,431.
In the east of England, latest figures showed some 28,560 nurses and health visitors, 2,673 midwives, 2,293 ambulance staff, and 13,246 scientific, therapeutic and technical staff worked in the region.
Combined with 32,978 support staff and 17,412 employees in infrastructure, the deal is expected to reach more than 97,000 people.
The package will cost the government £4.2bn over the next three years.