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RCN slams late NHS pay rise for 2024 as government belatedly starts pay review process

20 Dec 2023

We’ve responded to the health secretary’s letter of instruction to the NHS Pay Review Body for the 2024 to 2025 pay round.

RCN members at Conservative Party Conference demonstration Health secretary Victoria Atkins has written to the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB) asking it to make recommendations on NHS pay for 2024/25. 
This marks the formal start of the pay round process in which the PRB gathers evidence before suggesting what pay award staff on Agenda for Change contracts should get from April next year.  

In the official remit letter, Ms Atkins asks for pay review bodies to “consider the historic nature of the 2023 to 2024 awards and the government’s affordability position that will be set out further in written evidence”. 

The letter was due to be issued in the autumn and has been sent four weeks later than last year. This means a pay rise for NHS nursing staff in 2024 will inevitably come later than April, which is when it’s due. The PRB has been asked to report its findings in May.  

RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive Pat Cullen said: “This letter is extremely late, and the government has not honoured its commitment to improve how the process works. Nursing staff end the year in formal dispute with ministers and campaigning for a pay rise that addresses the staffing crisis in the NHS. 

“Once again, the supposedly independent process has its wings clipped when the health secretary writes about keeping costs down. By suppressing NHS wages, her predecessors have added to the shortage of nursing staff and falling care standards. The new approach must be to invest in nursing professionals as part of a commitment to patient safety. Repeating the mistakes of recent years would raise the prospect of more strike action.”  
Public polling conducted by YouGov on behalf of the RCN released last week showed two-thirds of those polled support nursing staff going on strike in 2024 because of pay. 

Pat warned: “Our pay dispute with the government remains unresolved, and the RCN is already consulting our members working in the NHS in England about what they may be prepared to do in the new year. In an election year, no political party can yet be confident it has the ability to stave off more industrial action by nursing staff.”

Page last updated - 23/02/2024