Society challenges “insulting” NHS Pay Proposal

The SoR to question the government’s evidence to the Pay Review Body (PRB) head on when called to give oral evidence on Tuesday 8th March.

Published: 07 March 2022 Trade Union & IR

The oral evidence to the PRB amplifys the positive ideas and messages in the SoR’s written evidence, submitted in January, as well as presenting a response to the government’s assertion that a 3% increase is all they can afford.

SoR Executive Director Dean Rogers, who will present the Society’s oral evidence, described the government’s assertion as “potentially destructive” and “insulting our members’ intelligence”.

The SoR evidence shows that 3% would barely increase staff take home pay, when taken alongside already announced increases to National Insurance and NHS pension scheme contributions, Rogers explains, “You would have to be at the top of Band 7 before 3% increased your basic take home pay by even £2 a week,” he said.

"It gets worse for any members repaying student loans, with the SoR showing a 3% increase would leave all of them between £9 and £204 worse off than they are currently, after other tax and pension increases.

"If someone takes £5 off you and then ten minutes later gives you £4 back no-one thinks they are £4 better off. Everyone knows they are £1 down…unless you work in the Treasury or DHSC it seems. Their logic insults our members’ intelligence," said Rogers, adding that language in the government’s evidence about productivity only adds further injury “The Government seems to be saying to NHS staff they have to work harder for less before they can get a pay rise because there is a backlog of Covid cases, as if this was somehow the fault of Staff. Exhausted staff need signs of hope to keep going. Instead, SoR believes the government attitude will drive people away from the NHS, making meeting backlogs impossible and entrenching the staffing crisis. Patients will lose from a 3% award as well.”

Rogers explains, “Every pay round is important, but as we emerge out of the pandemic and face the central importance of addressing the staffing crisis in the NHS as a recognised national priority, this year’s pay round is especially important. There is a critical choice to be made. 

“One pathway is towards hope, signalling genuine recognition that the NHS is a people business; setting a new direction founded upon partnership working and a joined up strategic workforce strategy. By retaining and recycling some of the additional investment found during the pandemic and starting from a new baseline, there is an opportunity to reset pay and reward strategy. Alternatively the government can choose to fuel the recruitment and retention crisis and actually make things worse – potentially removing any chance of the NHS recovering in the near to medium term. The government’s evidence points along a pathway to destruction.”