• NHS staff have voted “overwhelmingly” to accept the governement’s new pay deal
  • 14 unions representing NHS staff asked members to vote on the governement’s proposals 
  • Despite deal, Royal College of Nursing said there is still work to be done on “thorny issue of NHS pay”

NHS staff from 13 trade unions have voted to accept the government’s new pay offer.

The unions, including Unison and the Royal College of Nursing, have accepted an offer that would see staff on Agenda for Change contracts receive an average 6.5 per cent pay uplift over three years.

Ministers agreed the deal with union leaders in March, with the Treasury said to have agreed an extra £4bn to fully fund the uplift.

In a statement today Unison said members voted “overwhelmingly” to accept the new deal, while the Royal College of Nursing said 77 per cent of members backed it.

In a statement Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: “After today, the government cannot assume that the thorny issue of NHS pay has been put to bed.

“This deal marks a step in the right direction but the bigger leap to truly fair pay still needs to be taken. It does give a genuine pay rise to over one million people from next month and that cannot be underestimated in challenging economic times.”

Sara Gorton, lead health negotiator for Unison, said: “The agreement won’t solve all the NHS’s problems overnight, but it will go a long way towards easing the financial strain suffered by health staff and their families over many years.

“The lifting of the damaging one per cent cap on pay will come as a huge relief for all the employers who’ve struggled for so long to attract new recruits and hold onto experienced staff.”

The other unions backing the deal were; the British Association of Occupational Therapists; the British Dietetic Association; the British Orthoptic Society; the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy; the Federation of Clinical Scientists; Managers in Partnership; POA; the Royal College of Midwives; the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists; the Society of Radiographers; and Unite.

Staff from the GMB union, which largely represents ambulance staff, have voted against the deal.

Last week an NHS England board member criticised the government over the possibility that non-NHS providers missing out on funding to offer their staff an uplift, warning it could be “catastrophic” for social enterprises.

The Department of Health and Social Care told HSJ it is to decide whether social enterprises and NHS subsidiary companies will receive government funding to increase pay.