NHS unions have reached a pay deal with the Government, potentially ending the long-running dispute that led to historic strike action.

The offer, which includes a one-off payment for the 2022/23 financial year, plus a 5 per cent pay rise for 2023/24, will apply to NHS staff including nurses, paramedics, 999 call handlers, midwives, healthcare assistants, security guards and cleaners.

It does not apply to junior doctors, who are involved in a separate dispute.

The Royal College of Nursing, GMB, Unison, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and the British Dietetic Association said they will recommend that their members accept the offer, but Unite said it was not sufficient.

NHS pay offer explained

The deal will see NHS staff who are under the Agenda for Change scheme receive a one-off non-consolidated payment worth 2 per cent their salary for 2022/23.

They will also receive what is being called an “NHS backlog bonus” which “recognises the sustained pressure facing the NHS following the pandemic and the extraordinary effort staff have been making to hit backlog recovery targets”.

The bonus will be worth at least £1,250 per person, but will be determined based on an individual’s experience and pay band. The average nurse in pay band 5, for example, will receive £1,350.

For the 2023/24 financial year NHS staff are being offered a pay rise of 5 per cent.

The Health Secretary Steve Barclay said the deal means a newly-qualified nurse will receive more than £1,800 this year, plus a pay increase of more than £1,300 next year.

What is a non-consolidated payment?

Non-consolidated payments are one-off, non-pensionable awards made to staff.

These payments do not affect an individual’s base salary, but they are taxed at the usual rate.

Non-consolidated payments can be given out by companies or organisations based on performance, as a bonus, or – as is the case here – can be made in recognition of changing circumstances like rising living costs as an alternative to an increased salary.

Will NHS staff accept the offer?

The Royal College of Nursing, GMB, Unison, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and the British Dietetic Association will all recommend their members accept the offer.

Members will be given the opportunity to vote on it in the coming weeks, and any strike action will be paused during this period. This includes planned ambulance strikes next week.

Unite, however, has said the offer is not good enough. Sharon Graham, the union’s general secretary, said: “The offer from Government is not one that Unite can recommend to our members.

“It is clear that this Government does not hold the interest of workers or the NHS at heart. Their behaviour and disdain for NHS workers and workers generally is clear from their actions. Britain has a broken economy and workers are paying the price.”

RCN general secretary Pat Cullen, said: “The Government was forced into these negotiations and to reopen the pay award as a result of the historic pressure from nursing staff. Members took the hardest of decisions to go on strike and I believe they have been vindicated today.

“After tough negotiations, there are a series of commitments here that our members can see will make a positive impact on the nursing profession, the NHS and the people who rely on it.

“Our members will have their say on it and I respect everybody’s perspective. Each should look closely at what it means for them.

“As well as the additional money now, we have made real progress with the Government on safe staffing measures, a new pay structure for nursing, support for newly qualified staff and pensions too.

“It is not a panacea, but it is real tangible progress and the RCN’s member leaders are asking fellow nursing staff to support what our negotiations have secured.”

Rachel Harrison, GMB National Secretary, called the offer is a “huge uplift for the lowest paid to keep them well above the real living wage”.

The Health Secretary said: “I hugely admire the incredible work of NHS staff, including during the pandemic and the progress they have made to tackle the resulting backlog.

“This offer will give nurses, paramedics, physiotherapists and other non-medical staff a fair pay rise while protecting our commitment to halve inflation.”

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