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RCN fights against ‘two-tier NHS’ and for all nursing staff providing NHS services in England to receive government-funded pay award

14 Jun 2023

We’re demanding action from the Health Secretary after staff delivering NHS services won’t get the pay rise they expected.

Pat Cullen signing letter in office The RCN has written to Steve Barclay asking him to urgently address an issue with the way the NHS pay award for nursing staff in England is being implemented.   

It’s after many of those working in NHS organisations as bank nursing staff (including NHS Professionals) have been told they’ll not receive the one-off non-consolidated payments.

Additionally, many staff working on contracts aligned to Agenda for Change, delivering NHS care through organisations such as charities and social enterprises, have also been told they may not receive the non-consolidated payments or uplift for 2023/24 as it has not been centrally funded and they can’t afford to pay it without. This is despite many of these staff being employed on contracts which are aligned to Agenda for Change pay rates.  

Members are being urged to write to their own MPs asking them to apply pressure on the UK government to address the situation with new funding.   

The issue has come to light after the publication of guidance about how the NHS pay award is being implemented. This states only staff working for employers listed in Annex 1 of the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook are considered part of the NHS and therefore eligible to receive the full NHS pay award.  

The majority of trade unions making up the NHS Staff Council accepted the pay offer from the government in early May. The RCN, following consultation with members, rejected the offer and remains in dispute. We’re currently balloting on further strike action to secure a better NHS pay award and ballot papers must be returned by 23 June.   

In the letter to Health Secretary Steve Barclay, RCN General Secretary & Chief Executive Pat Cullen (pictured above) writes: “RCN members employed as bank workers by NHS employers and those engaged on dynamic Agenda for Change terms and conditions by NHS providers have been informed they will not receive the lump sum payments in respect of 22/23 and/or the consolidated increase in respect of 23/24.  

“Although the RCN has not been informed why, I understand this is due to funding. Our members are petitioning the government directly on this point and we will be working with the independent health provider network and the NHS Confederation and others to resolve this situation as was the case in 2018.   

“If this situation is not resolved, it will create a two-tier system for staff engaged on Agenda for Change terms and conditions and will do nothing to quell industrial unrest regarding pay. It will also serve to increase reliance on agencies as encouraging workers to use bank systems, some of which operate well to quell agency costs, will only reduce further.”  

The RCN is supporting members affected by this issue locally as part of its ongoing campaign for better pay, terms and conditions in the independent sector. Find out more.  

Page last updated - 23/12/2023