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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