Despite effusive praise for their efforts during the pandemic nurses and doctors accused ministers of not valuing health service personnel highly enough after the recommendation that more than 1 million staff should receive only a small increase. The government has decided that NHS staff should get only a 1% pay rise next year
“This is pitiful and bitterly disappointing. The government is dangerously out of touch with nursing staff, NHS workers and the public. The government can expect a backlash from a million NHS workers,” said Dame Donna Kinnair, the chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing. If the review body accepted the department’s advice, Kinnair said, “a pay award as poor as this would amount to only an extra £3.50 per week take-home pay for an experienced nurse. Nobody would think that is fair in the middle of a pandemic. Nursing staff would feel they are being punished and made to pay for the cost of the pandemic. Nursing deserves a 12.5% increase.”
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the chair of council at the British Medical Association, said: “This is a total dereliction of the government’s moral duty and obligation to a workforce that is keeping the NHS on its feet and patients alive.
“This comes as a kick in the teeth after a decade in which doctors have experienced real-terms pay cuts of up to 30% and in the same week as the chancellor has announced a huge increase in the taxation on doctor’s pensions that will leave virtually all doctors worse off.”
“A 1% pay rise is the worst kind of insult the government could give health workers who’ve given their absolute everything over the past year. The public will be horrified. Staff will think it’s some kind of joke,” said Sara Gorton, the head of health at Unison.
Gail Cartmail, Unite’s assistant general secretary, said the proposal was “callous” and “an enormous slap in the face”.