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Employers moot move to 'living wage' pay plan


The head of NHS Employers has suggested introducing a “living wage” – calculated according to the basic cost of living – for health service staff as an alternative to the annual review of basic pay.

Dean Royles also floated the idea of multi-year pay deals. He put forward the ideas in an article in Nursing Times’ sister title HSJ, in which he called for a debate on how to ensure a “smooth exit” from the era of health service pay restraint.

Later this month the NHS Pay Review Body is expected to make its yearly recommendations to the government on changes to basic pay for health service staff, which is expected to be around 1%.

Mr Royles repeated claims this would cost £500m, which he said was equivalent to the salaries of 15,000 nurses. He said employers could not go on asking for pay freezes but instead needed to be “creative and bold” in tackling NHS pay.

“Let’s explore options for multi-year deals. Or let’s explore how we could move towards the ‘living wage’. Surely it’s right to explore and test out assumptions, to see if it will help us contain costs, secure jobs and allow a smooth exit from a period of pay restraint,” he said.

Dean Royles

But unions have highlighted the real-terms fall in incomes over recent years following two years of a pay freeze, higher pension costs and a 1% pay rise in 2013.


Readers' comments (12)

  • 1% "maybe" for us....11% for MP's...we are all in this together though!!!

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  • Never mind 1% , the "creative and bold" comment is code for regional pay, non-AFC pay and salaried posts!

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  • I wonder how much Dean Royles earns per year. What will be his pay rise? What is the size of his pension pot?

    It is amazing how the people earning six figures salary do their best to deny the low paid of a decent pay rise.

    I suppose the lower the pay rise for the staff the greater his bonus.

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  • Put every CEO on a band 2 for a year and see how quickly a living wage for all staff. Pension contribution increases have eroded any pay rise to a net pay cut.

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  • A living wage sounds like a minimum wage. A wage cap. if i am good at my job am i aspiring to earn a minimum wage? Not much of an incentive.

    if you want the best you pay a premium not a minimum.

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  • A 'living wage' ! I have seen my take home pay rise by £20 a month in the past 3 years, working as a clinical nurse specialist. There are staff who have been in the NHS for 20 years who are leaving their jobs, enough is enough.. Along with staff shortages, moral at an all time low and no investment in staff.Who would choose a nursing career in the NHS?

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  • I agree with the above comments... Also would they actually spend the £500m on 15000 new nurses, I dont think so ...

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  • I wouldn't like to see this happen, if the state pension is anything to go by, the basic pension being under £6000. That is considered living wage. On the other hand others (non-pensioners) are receiving £29,000, that would be more attractive as a newly qualified nurse, but we have no chance. We wouldn't fit the criteria.

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  • Tinkerbell

    I smell a rat! Race to the bottom! As if there's no vested interest or agenda. Don't trust you as far as I can spit. Pull the other one.

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