Thousands of female NHS staff will be able to lodge claims for extra pay following a Court of Appeal ruling.

This said transitional pay protection for a bonus scheme that had been mainly paid to male workers at Redcar and Cleveland and Middlesbrough borough councils was unlawful because it perpetuated sex discrimination.

Paul Michell, an employment law specialist at Cloisters, which won the case, said higher salaries that decreased over a set time had been awarded under the change to single status terms and conditions, the local government equivalent to Agenda for Change.

He said trusts might face similar actions unless they could justify why they paid men more and did not raise women's salaries to the same rate.