The SoR is pleased that members in England and Wales finally have some information about their overdue pay award for 2021-22. We are pressing the Northern Ireland Assembly leadership to end the uncertainty and waiting there as well, without further delay.
The proposed award of 3% is 3 times what the English Government said it intended to pay. This is largely due to the pressure from unions, members and their communities, supporting our #WithNHSStaff campaign. The influence of unions has been clear as we successfully resisted efforts inside Government to reduce the offer at the last minute.
However, 3% will not be enough to give staff a sense of reward and genuine recognition – especially in England where there have been no Covid bonus payments. Staff in England and Wales will now be even further behind colleagues in Scotland doing the same work after the Scottish Government found 4%.
Recruitment and retention, staff burnout and the need for more staff and more flexibility are the top priorities for health professionals. Accordingly, Governments and Health employers need to take a more strategic approach to pay and reward than we have seen in this pay round.
In radiography, the Richards’ Report highlights a need for 4000 more diagnostic radiographers now – a 14% immediate shortage, with rising demand likely to require a 25% increase to the workforce by 2030. We know there are similar pressures in therapeutic radiography. The extent of the current staffing crisis cannot be under-estimated. Nor can the central importance of radiographers to meeting the Government’s core health targets. The scale of the challenge requires a long term, joined up, strategic approach to workforce planning that incorporates the pay, reward and status of professionals. Understanding what this means requires listening to the professionals. What we have seen from Government over this pay round is none of these things.
Now the SoR UK Council will be considering the proposed award, and all and any further emerging details. We will then consult widely with Reps and members across England, Wales and separately in Northern Ireland around their continued delays.
Claire Donaldson (President)
Dean Rogers (Director of Industrial Strategy & Member Relations)