UPDATE: Pay deal agreed, with one million NHS staff set to benefit

Brits are warned to use NHS services wisely as nurses strikes set to continue

Medical staff continue to strike for a better pay deal. Credit: Roger Blackwell/ Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

Health unions back the UK Government’s pay deal, with pay rises looking set to affect over a million NHS staff.

UPDATE: Tuesday, May 2, at 8.40pm

Today, May 2, 14 UK health worker unions have agreed in a meeting with government ministers, to accept the UK government’s pay deal proposed in March. This is to include a one-off bonus of at least £1,655 as well as a five per cent wage increase.

The deal will affect ambulance workers, nurses, physios and porters but doesn’t cover doctors and dentists. Three unions remain opposed to the deal and continue to threaten strike action.

Steve Barclay, UK Health Secretary, was pleased that the pay offer had been accepted by a majority of unions after their members voted. He was quoted by the BBC  as saying:

“Where some unions may choose to remain in dispute, we hope their members – many of whom voted to accept this offer – will recognise this as a fair outcome that carries the support of their colleagues and decide it is time to bring industrial action to an end.”

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN), which remains in opposition to the deal, will continue to threaten strike action, despite its strike mandate ending earlier this week. Further action will require a fresh ballot of RCN members, who are no doubt already feeling the crunch of lost wages.

Steve Barclay will next meet with British Medical Association, as he hopes to make headway in the junior doctors’ pay dispute. Junior doctors are on different contracts to the NHS staff who have agreed to today’s deal, but Barclay has described their demands for a 35 per cent pay rise as unaffordable.

We aim to bring you more updates on this as they become available.

Monday, May 1 at 6.16pm

Members of the Royal College of Nurses (RCN) union, representing over 100 NHS organisations continued to strike yesterday and today (May 1) around the UK, in opposition to the UK Government’s pay deal.

Although the RCN continue to be an outlier, with a number of other unions having accepted the pay deal which includes a lump-sum payout and a 3 per cent pay rise in September 2023, the RCN remains firm in its objectives.

In an interview with the Independent, RCN chief Pat Cullen said that the UK could face years of strike action if the government doesn’t change its approach. She added that the government taking legal action against the strikes only served to: “drive nurses further away.”

She went on to claim that Nurses in her union were being offered triple and quadruple pay to leave the strikes and come into work, questioning why they couldn’t just be paid fairly on a normal working day.

The RCN on Twitter posted a video and quote from an NHS patient, and supporter of the Nurses Strikes, Clara, saying:

“I feel grateful every single day for the job that nurses do.”

“NHS patient Clara shares why it’s so important patients and the public join nursing in sending a clear message to the govt: nursing deserves more.” 

Dame Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer was reported to have said in The Sun: “Positive discussions with the RCN this weekend have resulted in a number of national agreements to ensure staff are able to provide direct patient care needed to protect life-and-limb services, covering neonatal ICU, paediatric ICU, intensive care and emergency departments.”

She also added: “The public should use the NHS wisely, with those needing non-urgent care using pharmacies and 111 online as their first port of call. And if you have a life-threatening emergency, please seek help in the usual way by dialling 999.”

While the RCN have climbed down on some of their strikes, returning staff to childrens’ units and emergency departments, it would seem they intend to continue industrial action until what they consider to be a fairer deal can be reached.

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Written by

David Laycock

Dave Laycock has always written. Poems, songs, essays, academic papers as well as newspaper articles; the written word has always held a great fascination for him and he is never happier than when being creative. From a musical background, Dave has travelled the world performing and also examining for a British music exam board. He also writes, produces and performs and records music. All this aside, he is currently fully focussed on his journalism and can’t wait to share more stories from around the world and beyond.