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When will the NHS pay rise be paid? The new deal for nurses explained and how much the lump sum will be

Health unions have agreed an NHS pay deal by majority vote, meaning all nurses and paramedics in England will receive a 5 per cent pay rise.

On Tuesday, the NHS Staff Council approved the Government’s offer of a 5 per cent pay increase for this year and a cash payment for last year.

The new deal was signed off despite divisions between unions, with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and Unite rejecting the offer and warning of an escalation in walkouts to hit hospitals and emergency services.

What is the new deal for nurses?

The pay deal will be applied to all nurses, paramedics and other non-medical NHS staff in England despite some unions, including the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and Unite, rejecting the offer.

There are 14 unions involved in the deal, representing staff on the Agenda for Change contract. This is the current NHS grading and pay system which includes all NHS workers apart from doctors, dentists and senior managers.

For the financial year 2022/23, NHS staff under the Agenda for Change scheme will receive a one-off payment worth 2 per cent of their salary for 2022/23.

They will also get 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”.

This bonus will be worth between £1,250 and £1,600 per person, based on an individual’s experience and pay band. The average nurse in pay band 5 would receive £1,350.

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

When will the pay rise be paid?

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said staff should see the pay in their packets from June.

“We’re working on this at pace as we understand the importance of getting this into pay packets as soon as possible,” the department said.

Unions have called for the Government to issue the pay deal as soon as possible to support struggling health workers.

Unison – representing a range of health staff including paramedics, hospital cleaners and some nurses – accepted the Government’s pay offer but called for the payment to be made by June.

Head of health at the union, Sara Gorton, who chairs the union group on the NHS Staff Council, said: “NHS workers will now want the pay rise they’ve voted to accept. The hope is that the one-off payment and salary increase will be in June’s pay packets.”

Will there be more strikes?

Despite the deal, some unions have said walkouts will continue as they are not happy with the 5 per cent pay offer.

But Unite – mainly comprising of ambulance staff – has vowed to escalate strike action in light of the decision, saying the deal “will not solve the huge issues surrounding understaffing that are destroying the NHS”.

Unite national lead officer Onay Kasab said the offer “does not go far enough to stop the recruitment and retention crisis that is collapsing the NHS” and that “fresh strike action will continue to be scheduled”. Unite has an ongoing strike mandate.

The nurses’ union has vowed to continue striking despite the pay rise.

Later this month, 280,000 union members will be re-balloted to see whether they support a fresh wave of industrial action.

If it receives a legal mandate for further strike action, the union said it would call “strike action across the full NHS” – a step up from previous strikes, which have involved approximately 50 per cent of NHS trusts and other NHS employers.

But it is far from clear that the union will meet the threshold for another six months of strike action as its members were divided on the pay deal – which the union leadership initially recommended they accept.

Other unions have accepted the pay deal but wrote to the Government demanding urgent change moving forward.

Unison said the deal must be the “start of something new in the NHS” while GMB said accepting the offer was the “first step in the long journey” to solving the issues facing its members.

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