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NHS pay deal 'a bitter blow' to nursing staff in England and Wales

21 Jul 2021

We’ll consult members on what action they want to take in response to 3% pay award.

Members protest outside Westminster over pay

The UK government has announced that NHS staff in England will be given a 3% pay rise for 2021-22. The Welsh government has said staff working for the NHS in Wales will get the same.

That’s lower than the rate of inflation, which is expected to hit 3.7% this year, meaning staff will effectively get a pay cut. 

Ministers in Westminster had been expected to make announcements on Tuesday (20 July) and earlier on Wednesday (21 July).

RCN General Secretary & Chief Executive Pat Cullen said: “After a shambolic day, comes a shambolic announcement. When the Treasury expects inflation to be 3.7%, ministers are knowingly cutting pay for an experienced nurse by over £200 in real-terms.

“Hospitals and other parts of the NHS are struggling to recruit nurses and health care support workers. The government has been warned that many more are on the verge of leaving. With today’s decision, ministers have made it even harder to provide safe care to patients. 

“This announcement is light on detail. It must be fully-funded with additional monies for the NHS and ringfenced for the workforce bill. 

“Nursing staff will remain dignified in responding to what will be a bitter blow to many. But the profession will not take this lying down. We will be consulting our members on what action they would like to take next.”

The RCN has been campaigning for a 12.5% pay increase for all nursing staff covered by Agenda for Change terms as part of a one-year deal that applies equally to all bands. 

We’ll be holding an event at 7pm on 22 July to help members understand the pay deal and talk about what happens next. A consultation will be launched in the coming weeks, with the outcome directing the next steps in this campaign. To have your say, it’s important we have accurate details for who your employer is. Check these now at MyRCN

The NHS pay deal announced in Westminster has an impact on the money available for NHS pay in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It is for the devolved governments in those countries to decide what pay rise to offer staff working there. 

An announcement in Northern Ireland is expected soon and we’ll be consulting members on that pay deal. 

RCN members in Scotland are currently in a trade dispute with the Scottish government and NHS Scotland employers after members rejected an offer which gave members a 4% increase on average.

Discussion with the Scottish government is ongoing and RCN Scotland will continue to consult members as this process continues.


Page last updated - 15/01/2022