Thank you for writing to me about NHS pay. I have read your email carefully and noted the key points that you raise.
NHS staff, care workers and other medical professionals are still on the frontline in the fight against coronavirus, and I pay tribute to their dedication, skills and professionalism. I believe that the passion, commitment, and specialist knowledge of our NHS staff are a huge part of what makes our NHS so special, and I recognise that good staff morale is important in maintaining exemplary staff commitment to delivering outstanding healthcare and medical care.
I fully support the mission to make the NHS the safest, highest quality healthcare system in the world. There are now over 14,000 more doctors and over 13,000 more nurses on our wards than ten years ago and there are clear and robust plans for many more.
How the NHS values and retains its staff is critical, and I was encouraged when a deal was agreed in 2018 ensuring a 6.5 per cent pay rise for over one million NHS workers on Agenda for Change contracts over three years.
Ministers set aside £800 million to support the deal for 2018/19, and the Government’s long term funding settlement for the NHS, which will provide increased funding of £33.9 billion per year by 2023/24, is funding the pay rise over the remaining two years. Those on the lowest salaries in the NHS are seeing of the largest proportionate pay rises: the lowest NHS starting salary has increased year on year from £15,404 to £18,005 in 2020/2021. Many nurses and healthcare assistants are enjoying pay increases of at least 2.5 per cent.
NHS staff are playing an integral part of the national effort to combat coronavirus, and I thank them for the terrific work that they are doing. The Government is committed to supporting all staff now and in the future, and the unwavering support for frontline staff predates the unprecedented challenge of coronavirus. In addition to the 6.5 per cent pay rise over the three years, the starting salary for newly qualified nurses has also increased by more than 12 per cent, and the Government has introduced a nurses' bursary. This will provide at least £5,000 of additional support to nursing students.
Staff on the Agenda for Change (AfC) deal are already scheduled to receive pay rises, with the starting salary for a newly qualified nurse increasing by more than 12 per cent by the end of the AfC time period, and with all nurses receiving pay increases of at least 6.5 per cent. It is my understanding that the NHS Pay Review Body, covering AfC staff, will return to making recommendations for next year's pay awards.
As I say, I pay tribute to the terrific work of NHS staff in the fight against coronavirus. I am pleased that our hard working public sector workers have been receiving their pay and pay rises even during these very difficult economic times, which, regrettably has not been the case for huge numbers of those who work in the private sector.
Thank you again for writing to me about this important matter.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking