The government is extending the new pay deal to nursing staff who are on the Agenda for Change contract and work in organisations that provide service the NHS but that are not actually part of it.
The move was revealed in a document published today by the Department of Health and Social Care, in which it set out details of how the three-year 6.5% pay rise would be implemented for this year.
“This is a further step towards fairer pay for healthcare staff, but it is not the end of the road”
It said it would directly allocate additional funding for 2018-19 to eligible non-statutory non-NHS organisations directly commissioned by clinical commissioning groups or NHS England.
“From 2018-19, the Agenda for Change pay deal will apply to existing and new staff on the Agenda for Change employment contract employed in both NHS bodies and non-statutory non-NHS organisations that provide NHS services,” stated the document.
“Eligible organisations are those that dynamically use the Agenda for Change contract, i.e. those organisations that employ existing and new staff on the Agenda for Change contract,” it said.
In May, the Royal College of Nursing wrote to the government calling for the pay proposals to be extended to those working in social care, the private sector and primary care.
Responding to today’s government document, RCN chief executive and general secretary Janet Davies said: “We welcome the government’s decision to fund a pay rise for nurses and care assistants who are not directly employed by the NHS.
“This is a further step towards fairer pay for healthcare staff, but it is not the end of the road,” she said.
“We have an ageing population, and more and more people who rely on services provided by social enterprises, charities, general practice, and social care,” noted Ms Davies.
“Eligible organisations are those that dynamically use the Agenda for Change contract”
Department of Health and Social Care
However, she also highlighted that only staff at organisations delivering care directly funded by the NHS would benefit from “today’s step”.
“Recruitment and retention issues are crippling the wider care sector, and it is hardly surprising staff turnover is so high when many care staff receive only minimum wage,” said the RCN leader.
“Safe and effective patient care relies on well-staffed services,” she said. “To improve recruitment and retention, and bring stability to the health and social care sector, ministers must now find funding for a fair pay deal for nursing staff working across social and primary care.”
The Agenda for Change multi-year pay and contract reform deal was agreed by the NHS Staff Council on 27 June, following consultation exercises on the offer by unions.
Under the 6.5% multi-year deal agreed by unions and employers, all but the very highest paid staff would get 3% this year, 1.7% and a 1.1% lump sum in April 2019, and 1.7% from April 2020.
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Under the deal, the new pay structure “has been implemented and is effective from this July”, with any pay arrears backdated to April and paid in August salaries.
The government said it had made an additional £800m available to meet the costs of the Agenda for Change pay deal in 2018-19.
“Funding for the remaining two years of the pay deal will be met from the recently announced NHS long term settlement,” it added.
Of the £800m, £756m will go towards staff pay at NHS providers, while £12m has been allocated for Non-NHS organisations.
In addition, £20m will cover staff at NHS England and those in clinical commissioning groups and commissioning support units, and £12m will cover other government arms’-length bodes.