Kingston Hospital Foundation Trust has defied a government pay agreement and awarded its senior staff a 1 per cent pay rise in line with lower paid staff.

The FT’s leadership team took the decision to award the pay rises because of concerns over staff retention.

In January, the government agreed to a 1 per cent pay rise for all staff up to the mid-point of band 8C on the Agenda for Change pay framework. This would apply to staff on a salary below £57,069.

Kingston Hospital is the first trust to confirm it has gone against the government’s pay deal and given a rise to staff above the band 8C mid-point.

The outer London FT took the decision to try to retain staff who could move to inner London trusts that pay more, and in response to its most recent staff survey results. The rise will be funded for one year only.

Forty-seven per cent of the trust’s staff who completed the survey last year said they were “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” with their pay level.

The trust has estimated the pay rise for staff above the band 8C mid-point has cost £22,000 and applies to 22 people. It is planning for an £8.8m deficit this year.

A note in the trust’s board papers said the “rationale was that in the light of the recent staff survey results and staff able to work at local trusts who would pay inner London weighting, it was thought that it would improve the retention of staff”.

Managers in Partnership chief executive Jon Restell, who has campaigned for all staff to be given the 1 per cent pay rise, said: “We welcome the decision by Kingston FT to award this increase to senior staff, and we have heard anecdotally of others doing the same. This is something we have been lobbying for.

“Feedback from members and employers confirms that the government’s divisive pay award has affected morale for these staff. Their work is critical for patient care, operational effectiveness and financial performance, and they deserve a cost of living pay rise just like the rest of the healthcare team. Kingston FT has made a wise decision in the face of increasing pressure on recruitment and retention as the economy improves. It is the only logical way to push back on agency and interim costs. I hope and believe that others will follow Kingston FT’s example.”

A trust spokeswoman said: “While the majority of staff, approximately 2,250, received the nationally agreed 1 per cent unconsolidated pay rise this year, 22 members of staff at the bands 8C mid-point and above, did not. To maintain good staff morale and retention within this small group of staff, and to achieve a level of equity against their colleagues, a decision was made by the trust board that staff at band 8C mid-point and above would receive a 1 per cent pay rise for one year only.”