A 1% pay increase has been confirmed for all NHS Scotland staff for the fourth year in a row.
The Scottish government announced today that it had accepted independent recommendations on NHS pay, meaning all employees will receive at least a 1% pay rise in 2017-18.
“This must be seen in the context of the significant cuts we have seen to Scotland’s budget in recent years”
The changes should be implemented in time for April’s pay, it said in a statement.
Additional measures continue for the lowest paid staff, it added, with anyone earning up to £22,000 also receiving an additional sum to increase their pay by at least £400.
Scottish health secretary Shona Robison said: “I am glad to confirm that all NHS Scotland staff will receive salary increases from 1 April in line with the recommendations from the independent pay review bodies.
“I recognise that pay restraint has been difficult, however this must be seen in the context of the significant cuts we have seen to Scotland’s budget in recent years,” she said.
“All directly employed NHS Scotland staff will receive at least a 1% uplift in pay,” she said. “And we are again helping the lower paid by topping up the pay of anyone currently earning £22,000 and below.
“We will also continue to guarantee a living wage for all NHS staff, and maintain our commitment to no compulsory redundancies. This underlines the value we place on the hardworking men and women of Scotland’s health service,” she added.
A recommendation to uplift General Medical Practitioners’ pay, net of expenses, by 1% has also been accepted. It will also apply to independent contractor General Dental Practitioners.
The changes are to be implemented after the Scottish government accepted the recommendations on NHS pay from the NHS Pay Review Body, and the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Pay Review Body.
Ministers rejected a recommendation to increase the value of distinction awards and discretionary points for senior consultants or to lift the freeze on new distinction awards.
However, the Royal College of Midwives described it as “extremely disappointing” that the Scottish government was continuing with the “policy of pay restraint for a seventh year”.
Jon Skewes, RCM director for policy, employment relations and communications, said: “While we welcome the above 1% increase for lower paid staff we were calling for the NHS pay review body to break with pay restraint and give an inflationary increase to all staff.
“Because of below-inflation increases for the past seven years, midwives have seen their pay drop in value by over £6,000 since 2010 and it is unsustainable for this to continue,” he said, making reference to the RCM’s evidence report to the review body.
“When almost every professional group in the NHS has a shortage of staff, as midwifery does, the Scottish government need to intervene now to retain much-needed staff before it is too late. The NHS is reliant on midwives’, maternity support workers’ and all other NHS staffs’ goodwill,” said Mr Skewes.
He added: “The Scottish government should show all NHS staff they are valued by giving them a fair pay rise that is in line with inflation. Investment in staff is an investment in high quality, safe care”.
The Royal College of Nursing warned that nurses’ pay would continue to fall behind cost of living, following the decision to cap the award at 1% for another year.
Latest pay settlement revealed for NHS nurses in Scotland
RCN Scotland associate director Norman Provan said: “Since 2010, there has been a real-term fall in nursing pay of around 14%.
“As a result of today’s announcement, the gap between nurses’ pay and the cost of living will grow ever wider,” he said. “This means that their pay will fall even further behind and will pile the pressure on an already overstretched workforce.”
In its evidence to the Independent NHS Pay Review Body, the Royal College of Nursing asked for an above inflation pay rise to bring nursing pay back into line.
Mr Provan added: “Once again, the Scottish Government has missed an opportunity to close the gap between nurses’ pay and inflation and nurses will continue to bear the brunt of austerity measures in the NHS in Scotland.”
More response and analyse to follow…