Nurses’ pay: what the Dickens?

Nurses’ union Unison branded the 3.7 per cent pay rise for its members announced by the Government yesterday an "Oliver Twist" offer.

Health Secretary Alan Milburn, who outlined the new pay deal for frontline NHS staff, revealed that all nurses would receive a 3.7 per cent pay increase.

In addition 70,000 senior nurses will move to a new pay point which means that their total pay increase will be over 5 per cent.

All NHS doctors, including junior doctors, consultants, dentists and GPs will receive a 3.9 per cent pay rise.

Overall the NHS bill for nurses and for doctors will rise by 4 per cent.

Mr Milburn said: "We’re determined to do right by frontline NHS staff. Year-on-year we are making steady progress on increasing their numbers and improving pay rates."

But Karen Jennings, head of nursing for Unison, said the pay rise was very disappointing.

"For the past four years Unison has argued that urgent action is needed to improve the pay of bedside nurses or risk losing them,” she said.

"History has shown that a boom and bust approach to health pay doesn’t solve the recruitment and retention crisis."

By Ben Willmott

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