NHS nurses, midwives and other healthcare workers should all be provided with a 1% pay rise in 2017-18 instead of the wage increase being targeted to help with staffing problems as the government has suggested, according to the NHS Employers organisation.
In last summer’s budget, the government announced public sector pay rises would be capped at 1% until 2020. It was later revealed that this was intended to be an average across the workforce and that there was no guarantee every employee would receive a 1% wage increase.
“The average 1% [pay rise] envelope is not enough to make any significant targeting worthwhile”
But NHS Employers, which represents trusts, has said the 1% salary increase should be given to all staff on the NHS Agenda for Change payscale due to the negative impact on workforce morale if it were applied to some staff and not others.
The organisation said due to the level of the pay rise being set at 1%, this would not be enough to make a significant change to recruitment and retention if it were targeted at certain employees.
It also said that because the funding pot was so restricted, the effort required to work out different salary options in local areas would be disproportionate to any benefits gained.
NHS organisations continue to face workforce shortfalls but the current shortage is a supply issue and not related to pay levels, it added.
“There is no evidence available at national level to justify or support differential increases in 2017-18. The average 1% envelope is not enough to make any significant targeting worthwhile,” it stated.
“To do so would be seen as inequitable and potentially damaging to staff morale and employment relations,” it said.
NHS Employers’ comments come as part of its submission to the independent NHS Pay Review Body, which assesses NHS staff pay on an annual basis before making a recommendation to government.
At the end of last month unions representing nursing and midwifery staff called for the 1% pay rise cap to be broken, highlighting that trusts were struggling to recruit and retain staff amid a national workforce crisis.
They said the cap was “unsustainable” and wages must instead be increased to above inflation rates.