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Your say on NHS pay matters

 Stewart Donnelly 28 Mar 2018

Negotiations on a pay deal for NHS staff in Scotland are about to begin. Stewart Donnelly says RCN members need to be ready to have their say once a deal is on the table. 

It’s all about pay at the moment, and rightly so. We are probably at the most significant juncture in the fight for fair pay for many a long year.

You’ll likely be aware that an offer has been made in to NHS staff in England. It’s complex. Time is needed to digest what this means for nursing and for individuals. Some people can expect major increases in their pay over the next three years; others less so. But the bottom line is that everyone will get a pay rise. 

In Scotland though, we seem to be in a curious limbo, without a firm deal of our own as yet but with a ‘ghost’ deal to speculate about. What we do know is that the Scottish Government has said nurses in Scotland will be paid ‘at least as much’ as their counterparts in the rest of the UK. So the deal for NHS staff in England can give us a rough guide to what we can expect. 

Negotiations begin in earnest now between the RCN, other health trade unions, Scottish Government and employers. It is in the interest of all sides to get this thrashed out quickly. Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Sport and Wellbeing says she wants to see the increases in staff pay packets as quickly as possible. And the RCN and other unions are eager to have a deal to present to members for ahead of the consultation period, which, with a fair wind, will still start in Scotland on 23 April and run to 5 June.

Most importantly, members in Scotland will have an opportunity to have their say about a pay deal for NHS staff in Scotland. 

So, over the coming weeks of negotiation, we all need check out what’s in the deal in England and how it would affect us. This will help in thinking whether we can endorse the approach to pay that is on the table.

It’s also important to keep an eye on the RCN website for updates on the deal for Scotland. And it’s vital that, whatever conclusion each of us come to about the deal individually, we all take part in the consultation starting in April. 

Keep up to date with the latest developments on NHS pay via the RCN website.


Stewart Donnelly

RCN Scotland Board Chair

Employee Director in NHS Ayrshire and Arran

Stewart has worked in the NHS for over 37 years and became an RCN steward in the mid-1980s. He has held a variety of roles in the RCN Ayrshire and Arran Branch, from chair to secretary to treasurer. Stewart is the former Vice Chair of RCN Scottish Board.