Thank you for contacting me about NHS pay and for expressing your thoughts and concerns.
I believe that the passion, commitment, and specialist knowledge of our NHS staff is part of what makes our NHS so special, and I completely recognise the sacrifice and dedication of so many NHS workers over this immensely difficult past year. I believe it is important to honour this, but I also know that the pandemic has taken a real and terrible toll on the public finances which cannot be ignored.
I have been assured that what the Government has tried to do with its recommendation for a 1% pay-rise for NHS staff is to give NHS staff as much as it believes it prudently can at the present time. It is also worth seeing this in the broader context - all but the lowest paid workers across the public sector have had their pay frozen for 2021/22. In addition, we should not forget that over one million NHS staff also continue to benefit from multi-year pay deals agreed with trade unions, including a pay rise of over 12% for newly qualified nurses, with the average nurse pay now £34,000 per year, and that junior doctors' pay has been increased by 8.2%.
I know that the Independent Pay Review Bodies will make recommendations in late Spring, when they will be considered carefully by the Government. It is right that the Government does not pre-empt these recommendations.
I also welcome the investment that the Government has already made in the NHS workforce, including £513m in professional development and increased recruitment, £30m on staff mental health support including wellbeing hubs and occupational health support, and the new bursary programme giving at least £5,000 each year to new nursing, midwifery, and Allied Health professional students.
I will, of course, continue to monitor this issue very closely and you will be pleased to know that I have already spoken with the Health Secretary to share my views and the key concerns that you and other constituents have raised with me. If the Government and the Independent Review Bodies come to the conclusion that, on reflection, more can and should be done then I will be very supportive.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me about this important matter.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking