Pay talks between the government and trade unions representing health service workers will not be re-opened after the NHS Pay Review Body rejected demands to review a three-year deal.
Unions had wanted to revisit the pay deal in the wake of rising inflation. The original agreement gave NHS staff a 2.75% pay rise backdated to April 2008, a 2.54% increase in 2009, and 2.5% in 2010.
However, the review body said in a letter to health secretary Alan Johnson that the NHS pay structure was not out of line with the wider labour market and the economic downturn had not changed its stance on pay.
Health union Unison said it was disappointed with the decision.
Karen Jennings, head of health, said: “The Pay Review Body’s decision not to call for the pay talks to be re-opened will be disappointing for nurses, midwives, paramedics and other health workers.
“While inflation has started to come down, Unison members entered into the three-year deal in good faith, based on government predictions that inflation had peaked and would fall. Yet health workers have experienced big increases in food prices and other costs over the past nine months.”
The review body said it would look again at the position in autumn 2009.