What happens now?

Ten key questions answered about next steps on the NHS pay deal for England


What pay rise will we get and when?

You’ll get at least 3% more in your basic monthly salary, which should be paid from the end of July. This will be backdated to 1 April so you’ll see slightly more in your July pay packet than you might in the months that follow. 

But it depends when you’re due your incremental rise. If it was between April and July, you’ll get that additional increase too. Others will get it in the month they go up a spine point.

For more information about your specific payment, contact your payroll team or use the NHS pay calculator to work out what you're likely to get in each year of the three-year deal. 

Will the deal be implemented in stages?

The rise to basic pay will be made straight away for everyone employed by the NHS in England. That’s 3% this year, 1.7% next year, and 1.7% in 2020/21. You’ll also get a lump sum worth 1.1% in April 2019 if you’re at the top pay point. There are exceptions if you’re at the top of bands 8d and 9.

Other changes, to improve starting salaries for each band and remove overlaps between bands, will begin in year one and be finished in year two. 

Some points in the mid-range of each band will also be removed in years two and three of the deal, enabling staff to progress through bands quicker. If you’re due to move up to a point that will be deleted, you’ll automatically go to the point above. 

It’s the combination of these changes that will mean pay increases of between 9% and 29% over the three years if you’re not at the top of your band already.

Will it be easy to understand on my pay slip?

Your pay increase will show as part of your basic pay so it won’t appear as a separate line on your pay slip. However, the backdated element might be identified separately. 

You can see how much more you’re getting paid by comparing your July payslip to your June one. Contact your payroll team if you need help figuring out your pay slip. 

Will I be told what spine point I'm on?

Not necessarily, but your employer’s payroll team should have this information.

Do the RCN's pay negotiations stop here?

Not at all. This pay deal is a starting point. It begins to make up for the years of lost pay NHS staff have had to suffer. We’ll continue to campaign for fair pay for all nursing staff.

We’ll also be monitoring the impact of this deal and return to the negotiating table if inflation begins to rise. This deal is not the be all and end all - it’s a minimum commitment for the next three years. If the economic situation changes, or if recruitment and retention of nursing staff gets worse, we’ll be looking to reopen talks. 

What's going to happen in three years' time?

We’ll start building the case for further closing the gap between nursing pay and the cost of living way before the end of the three years of the deal. We plan to submit evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body as normal in 2020 for the 2021 pay round.

What role will the NHS pay review body have now?

The Pay Review Body (PRB) will be told the outcome of the pay consultation and will still submit a report setting out its recommendations for NHS pay. The Government will respond to both with the decision to go ahead with the pay deal officially approved at the end of June. 

Going forward, the PRB will continue to collect evidence and make recommendations about NHS pay for the duration of the deal. We’ll be working with them on areas we’re both concerned about, such as attracting staff to work in high cost areas.

The independent advice of experts at the PRB will still be crucial in making sure the Government is aware of how pay is having an impact on the NHS.

What if I work for the NHS in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland?

Acceptance of the pay deal for England means the money to replicate it in the devolved countries will now be made available.

NHS pay negotiations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are at very different stages but the RCN wants to secure the best pay deal possible for members no matter where they live.

Visit your country’s webpages using the links above to find out more. 

What about pay in the independent sector?

It’s our priority to negotiate better pay for members working outside the NHS, or for private companies who supply NHS services. We’ve written to Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, demanding equity for nursing staff who deliver publicly-funded services. 

We want to see a separate negotiating body, made up of employers and trade unions, established to negotiate pay, terms and conditions for all nursing staff not directly employed by an NHS organisation

As it currently stands, RCN experts negotiate pay on behalf of members working for independent sector employers. 

What can I do if I'm not happy with the pay deal?

Keep campaigning. While this is the deal we’re working with currently, our determination to secure better pay for nursing staff continues.

The RCN’s power is only as strong as its members’ desire to influence. Work with us to make sure the voice of nursing is heard. 

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