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Exclusive: new nurses set to lose double increment rise under pay plans


Newly qualified nurses would lose one of the two incremental pay rises they are currently supposed to receive in their first year, under proposals being put forward by government negotiators, Nursing Times has learnt.

NHS Employers, which is negotiating on behalf of the government, has clarified proposals on the changes it wants to see to incremental pay rises for new starters. 

Health unions and employers are in early talks about making changes to the national Agenda for Change pay framework, as trusts look to save money from the NHS paybill.

As reported last month, unions had suggested NHS Employers wanted to end incremental pay rises for band 5 staff during their first two years after qualifying.

Although it did not dispute this at the time, NHS Employers has subsequently said this is not the case. A spokesman told Nursing Times that instead it wants to remove the link between “accelerated” pay progression and preceptorships for newly-qualified nurses.

Under the proposals, new starters to band 5 would only be eligible for one incremental pay increase in the first year, rather than the two-step rise they are supposed to receive at present.

This has been an area of contention for a number of years. Some trusts have already been attempting to avoid giving newly qualifieds two increment rises in their first year. Often they have claimed that they are not obliged to do so because they do not offer preceptorship schemes.

However, unions have disputed this, arguing that it is written into the Agenda for Change contract that new nurses should receive two pay rises in recognition of the steep learning curve post qualification, regardless of whether a formal preceptorship scheme is provided or not.

There is growing pressure from local trusts for action on incremental pay rises with a number of organisations, especially in the South West, already looking to explore their own options outside of Agenda for Change.

Unions have vowed to resist moves towards local agreements and regionalised pay.


Readers' comments (8)

  • Another attack on the lower end of the pay-scale. How about just remove the bottom point of the scale and to start new staff on the 2nd point instead, then annual rises from there as per contract. This isn't going to help attract anyone into nursing and might not help retention either.
    The cost of healthcare will rise exponentially once we're all privatised, and most patients and staff will still not see the benefits. All profits will go to shareholders and directors.

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  • The refusal of the nursing profession to say NO to the pension ballot has given the gvt permission to do what they want - they know the unions are impotent. The medics have drawn a line in the sand and their salaries are not coming under attack. Yet every day I hear colleagues complaining on the wards...when will we learn?

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  • I am a student nurse and have just finished my first placement. I am already a graduate and have given up a very well paid job to do something that I thought was more worthwhile. I have accepted the significant change in pay but I am struggling to accept the awful working environment that I have experienced so far. I have met the most childish, rude and abrasive bunch of bullies to date (not just nurses). I have not experienced such a poisonous working environment in my entire career, no wonder people are leaving the profession and sickness rates are so high. This was not unique to a few individuals but seems to be endemic. I'm seriously considering a return to my old career, especially if the low pay is going to be getting even lower.

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  • i am a nurse and doing bank shifts to 1. for extra money and 2. to help my ward as they are short staffed even with me helping they are still short staffed. safe care cannot be delivered with shortages but it still goes to the press on how bad patients are cared for. STOP cutting staff.....

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  • Disgruntled relatives, families complaining, patients neglected, nurses at risk of being struck off. When will politicians realise staff shortages effect care and nurses reputation.

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  • i am a nurse whi worked for a foundation trust who after pressure from RCN and members hasagreed to pay 85% of back pay owed to newly qualified nurses from 2009 but have refused to accept they have breached their contract with the nurses. I say fight on nurses because why are they offering 85% if they are not in the wrong, they are using scare tactics and the union is lletting them get away with it. Does the department of Health know that the hospitals are not paying out money that must have been allocated to them under agenda for change. Come on members stand up for what you are due

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  • Silly unprofessional lies told by the bloated state sector about the independent sector again.Nurses work harder in the independent sector but choose to do so because they are are not working alongside carping bullying jobs worths who care more about their pensions than patients.

    Efficient, friendly, caring and compassionate. That's the Independant sector I know. Where nurses make decisions about patients and resources and where they are truly valued for their skills.

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  • All of these comments are making me think am I doing the right thing...first year student :-(?

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