More industrial unrest in the health service could be on the way after NHS Employers said next year’s pay award for doctors, dentists, nurses and other healthcare staff should not exceed 2%.
The employers’ organisation has advised the pay review bodies that anything more would place “undue cost pressures” on NHS trusts.
Earlier this week Unison, the biggest NHS union, and other health trade unions warned the government not to skimp on the NHS wages bill next year.
The government’s decision this year to stage the pay award in England led to a bitter row between unions, employers and the government.
Alastair Henderson, deputy director of NHS Employers, said: “NHS Employers has listened to what organisations in the NHS have said, and is recommending a pay uplift of up to 2% for all staff groups next year.
“While trusts are committed to rewarding their staff for the contribution they make, they need to ensure that, in rewarding their staff, they don’t tip the balance which could result in savings having to be made elsewhere.”
Eighty per cent of employers who responded to an NHS Employers’ survey indicated that they would support a longer-term pay arrangement if it was at an affordable rate.
Henderson said he disagreed with union views that low pay was directly linked to poor morale among staff.
“While employers would be concerned by any deterioration in levels of morale among their staff, we do not believe that the solution to problems of low morale will be found in simply giving a higher pay award,” he said.
The review body will meet in January to consider the evidence. An announcement of the pay award is expected next spring.