I am really pleased to welcome the announcement by the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, regarding NHS pay.
A £4.2bn deal has been formally agreed by union leaders and ministers meaning that more than one million NHS Staff will be given a pay rise of between 6.5% and 29% over the next three years, with the lowest paid staff getting the biggest increase. The agreement covers all staff on the Agenda for Change contract which is the entire workforce with the exception of doctors, dentists and senior leaders.
To boost the income of the lowest paid NHS Staff and help recruitment, the starting salary will increase by over £2,500 by 2021.
Personal development will be at the heart of pay progressions meaning more meaningful pay rises for those who hit milestones.
The deal also includes a commitment on both sides to reduce the high rate of sickness absence in the NHS by focusing on the health and wellbeing of NHS staff. Other commitments around annual leave, statutory child bereavement leave and shared parental leave have also been agreed.
I pay tribute to the hardworking men and women in the NHS, who continue to deliver outstanding care in often difficult circumstances and I am pleased that a deal has been formally agreed for a well-deserved pay rise.