NHS staff vote for 6.5% pay deal

Hospital wardImage source, PA

More than one million NHS workers in England will receive a three-year pay deal worth 6.5% after staff voted in favour of the offer.

Hospital cleaners, nurses, security guards, physiotherapists, emergency call handlers, paramedics, midwives, radiographers and other NHS staff across England will receive the rise.

They should now get the money in their July pay packets, backdated from April.

Thirteen unions voted for the deal and one against.

The only union to reject the deal was the GMB.

The agreement covers all staff on the Agenda for Change contract - about 1.3m across the UK - which is the entire workforce with the exception of doctors, dentists and senior leaders.

Sara Gorton, head of health at Unison, said the three-year pay deal must not be a "one-off".

"Health workers will want to know that ministers are committed to decent wage rises across the NHS for the long term, and that this isn't just a quick fix.

"Most importantly, the extra funding means the pay rise won't be at the expense of services or patient care," she said.

It is expected that additional funding will now be made available for health budgets in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, allowing pay negotiations to take place for health workers there.

GMB officials will meet next week to decide their next move after members rejected the deal by almost nine to one.

'Best deal'

Josie Irwin, of the Royal College of Nursing, said the deal would help to make the profession more attractive to future nurses.

"We have taken a significant step on the journey towards fairer pay for NHS staff but there is much more to achieve, not least for the staff who deliver NHS services outside direct employment.

"The government would be mistaken if it thought today's deal was the end, rather than the beginning, of that journey."

The Royal College of Midwives called it "the best deal in the public sector" because it is additionally funded and does not come out of existing NHS money.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the pay rise was "incredibly well-deserved for staff who have never worked harder".

Salaries will increase by between 6.5% and 29%, with some of the biggest increases for the lowest paid.