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Pay freeze confirmed for those earning over £21,000

Healthcare assistants look set to receive a basic pay rise of £250 next month, but salaries will be frozen for other nursing pay bands.

The NHS Pay Review Body, which advises ministers on pay uplift for the majority of healthcare workers, published its latest annual report today.

In-line with evidence submitted to it by the Department of Health and other devolved governments, the body recommended a pay increase for NHS staff earning less than £21,000.

The proposal to freeze basic pay for two years was first announced by ministers in last year’s post-election budget in June, but has now been confirmed following the publication of the review body’s report and its acceptance by the government.

 In the report today, the pay review states: “Our overall assessment is that there is no recruitment and retention evidence to justify an increase above the single uniform uplift of £250 proposed by the Health Departments.

“We recommend an uplift of £250 to Agenda for Change spine points 1 to 15 from 1 April 2011.”

The report adds: “In considering affordability and the funds available to the health departments, we note the health departments’ evidence that a £250 flat rate increase is all that can be afforded.”

But in a warning to ministers, the review body told the government that a similar approach next year risked damaging the effectiveness of the Agenda for Change pay framework and, as a result, recruitment and retention.

The report said: “We note that a single uniform uplift compresses the pay structure and brings the pay of those staff on pay points 1-15 closer to those on higher AfC pay bands (pay point 16 and above). This is particularly noticeable at the key entry point for qualified professionals in band 5.”

It adds: “Should a similar approach be adopted in 2012-13 the gap between pay points 15 and 16 would be narrowed to just £122. There are also likely to be consequences for recruitment, retention, and promotion pathways and incentives in specific occupational groups as a result of squeezing differentials.”

The recommendation affects only basic pay – the pay review body noting that it regarded Agenda for Change incremental pay progression as a separate issue.

Unions recently rejected proposals from the umbrella body NHS Employers for a freeze on incremental rises in return for protection from compulsory redundancy.

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Readers' comments (76)

  • I'm sorry but what is the point of struggling and sacrificing to get a degree and better yourself? Is it too much to expect reasonable returns for the hard work? Nurses already earn far too little for what we do, and it is just rubbing salt in the wounds when the gap between Nurses and HCA's pay is narrowed even more than it is already! I mean an Aldi worker or a binman doesn't earn THAT much less than a Staff Nurse! I mean just look at the bigger picture, people are not going to study for a degree if the career/rewards are not there after it, if they do they are not going to stay in the job if they do not get a fair wage! Nursing is really going to be struggling for staff in a few years.

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  • I don't know what that link is on my message, is NT putting surreptitious ads in our comments now?

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  • Unbelievable!
    Some HCA's will actually be earning more than me as a newly qualified nurse. They rarely give up their breaks, generally leave on time and don't have to pay the NMC for the privilege of being on the register.
    Perhaps there needs to be a work to rule or day of strike to make the government realise that nurses do matter and have a voice.
    Let's all write to our unions (RCN and Unison) to demand action now!

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  • Having come from an HCA post to nursing, via my degree, this makes me consider a retro career change! The NHS is already getting lots of free nursing from me and the stress due to the increased responsibility (compared to that in my former role) is huge. Why am I putting myself through this if the financial reward is minimal. New roles are continually added to my portfolio; ward clerk, housekeeper etc so lots of money is being saved already. And has anyone noticed how we rarely get any training that actually involves a teacher anymore? Our trust now has us spending even more of our precious hands-on nursing time updating essential training on the computor. Lots of this can be done by ticking boxes that actually teach you nothing. I am getting very disullusioned about nursing.

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  • i mentioned already on another thread
    i am an auxilary nurse and earn £7.17 an hour

    i am leaving the nhs and working for aldi at £9 an hour, less stress less hours etc

    i was under the impression the nhs would be a good career, but ever since this govt came in its going down the toilet

    i carnt wait to leave!!

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  • Mike, I totally agree with you. It is yet another 2 fingers up to the hard working nurses in the NHS!
    Not only do we face being TUPE'd over to private companies (some of which see nurses as bottom of the barrel) but if we do remain in the NHS we're to essentially take a pay cut as inflation and costs of living rise. We are forced to 'manage'; sit back (as we always do) and take it.
    I couldnt see any of the other public services taking this lying down; why do we?

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  • Totally agree with all the comments. I've been qualified a very long time but there has always been a rise even if was only 1%. Now no rise plus it seems we are being threatened with no incremental rises, loss of annual leave days and oh yes: pay more into your pension, work longer and get less!! Was considering doing my degree but what's the point? I don't think many are going to enter the profession and only earn £21,000 for how ever long. Um nursing is heading for a crisis again. I know its a vocation but we have all got ever increasing bills to pay.

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  • I remember a few months ago submitting a comment on this very issue and being ridiculed and laughed at for not being understanding about giving lower paid staff a pay rise and not skilled staff, and that maintaining pay differences on the agenda for change pay spine was not an issue. Well it is an issue. And to those who laughed then I say, I bet you're not laughing now!

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  • Totally agree with the entry regarding we said this would happen. Frankly, it is tokenistic. Why? There are fewer HCA's employed than trained nurses and the NHS can get away with £250 per person as the total bill will be less than if they give reward to the already poorly paid nurses who give extra time without pay most of the time. I am presuming that everyone in the NHS earning £21,000 or above is being penalised or is it just nurses? What about the Dr's - are they in the same boat???? What about the Chief Executives? I have to say all we get from the CEO (written by the Comms team of course not the CEO), is wishy washy spin and patronising (not to mention borderline bullying) tactics trying to justify the cuts.

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  • This is getting absolutely ridiculous. I trained (well stuggled to survive) as a nurse with 3 young children to 1-give them a better future and 2-to set a good example that hard work pays off. What do they see now ive been qualified 6 years. Im in debt up to my eyeballs, work full time, pay out £700 a month in travel and childcare fees, cant afford my children school trips, borrow money every month to make ends meet n put food on table, while they see the children from families on benefits getting help to go on trips, go out all time and and have family holidays.
    Now were going to have our pay frozen, pay higher pension contributions and probably end up having to work a day without pay (wouldnt surprise me if thats on the cards next) What do my children say, why dont you stop working because people are better off not working!!!!! Now dont get me wrong ive nothing against benefits if you cant work but this country is killing the hard workers, and its getting worse, when is it going to end and the government appreciate us!!!! Are we going to get any help with reduced NMC fees or other expenses we have, DOUBT THAT VERY MUCH. Im thinking about going to work at Asda, no stress, similar money and no fees, and ive always been passionate and committed to Nursing, however, we have to survive!

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  • In response to
    Anon:22 March 2011
    You probably do already work an extra day a month without pay....overtime and missed tea breaks! If not more....I notice a Rally on Saturday, and reckon as many nurses as possible should shout loud and stand proud!!

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  • mike in birmingham the binmen are on more than I am as a staff nurse...and they get paid proper overtime!

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  • So the HCA's matter more than the registered nurses. If they want to earn more than they do they should do their training.

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  • Anonymous | 22-Mar-2011 4:55 pm:

    More? Oh for crying out loud! I'm looking for the damn application forms!

    Like I said at the start of this, where is the incentive to work hard, struggle to gain highly skilled academic qualifications and struggle in one of the most stressful and demanding occupations there is when someone with no skills or education can earn more? Is job satisfaction enough? Is doing something worthwhile with our lives worth it if we can't pay the mortgage? We may as well just get a job in Aldi! And future generations of Nurses will see this too.

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  • I whole heartedly agree with this feeling of betreyal to skilled nurses in preference of higher paid hca's. I left nhs nursing two years ago as it started going down hill, convinced then that the government intended to scrapp the nhs and replace much of it with privatising. Therefore reducing nhs to only those people on benefits , elderly, disabled, and on low income. After 25 years service a registered nurse my career became worthless to me, nurses are mostly regarded as rubbish, sat at the nurses station drinking tea etc by the general public. Much of my time spent on duty with more and more responsabiltiyand constantly decreesing staff and supplies plus having to chase doctors and pharmacy in addition to stressed and often offensive relatives etc. Sound familiar??. My best time in nursing was working agent, more pay and a lot less stress. I am so glad I left the nhs and so sad to see what is happening to nurses now. My life is so much better and my health!!

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  • Keep some of the workforce on the ground happy (actually that is feeling grateful) 'divide and rule' comes to mind.

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  • To the comment above regarding nurses sat at the desk....I have to agree with you. With so many Soapies and hospital documentories on now,they never ever show the real situation on how frantic a ward ussually is. I have yet to see a soapie or documentory where buzzers, pumps, and phones are all going off at the same time. Not many nurses rushing around either....probably because there are so few and those that are there are not shown with bedpans and trolleys!
    And how many times are you sat at the desk tryng to catch up with writing notes....and "officially" your shift was finished 20 minutes ago?
    Its mostly all calm to the viewers eye.
    I wonder how much editing is done to make it look so cushy?
    The public only believe what they see.
    No wonder many of the general public think you have it easy.
    Most that do not know are disillusioned.
    With pay freezes, pension changes, poor skills mixes and reduced levels of staff to say just a few, there is absoluatly NO incentive for UK nurses at this time....only huge worry of what lies ahead.

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  • without the cushy images on the telly, nobody would ever want to take up nursing! what would happen to recruitment if they showed the true image with a few full bedpans? Not that the NHS seems to want to recruit anyone else at the moment and the soaps would suddenly become far more less attractive and reduce the number of viewers! It all comes down to money in the end and dehumanising the healthcare system.

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  • Anonymous | 22-Mar-2011 4:21 pm

    Help with NMC fees we had that priveledge but now it has been stopped, not that everyone knew about it (they paid half) it was a well kept secrete.

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  • mentioned on other threads

    i am off to work at aldi £9 an hour
    stuff the nhs its going down the toilet
    thanks to this shower of ***** we have for a govt

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