NHS Grampian gains living wage accreditation

NHS workers need ‘decent pay’ to feel valued

NHS Grampian in Aberdeen has gained accreditation as a Living Wage employer, following assessment by Living Wage Scotland and the Poverty Alliance, having committed to pay its 16,500 employees a salary that meets inflation and combats rising living costs.

In April 2022, the government’s living wage was set at £9.50 for employees aged over 23. The voluntary real living wage, calculated by the Living Wage Foundation to take into account factors such as the rising cost of living, has been set at £9.90 per hour, rising to £11.05 per hour in London.

NHS Grampian, with pay set nationally by the NHS, was already paying the living wage or higher to its direct employees, but through living wage accreditation it has committed to working with its third-party contractors to do the same.

In 2021, Aberdeen launched a campaign to become a living wage city, where group of accredited local institutions and businesses form an action group led by the local council, and devise a plan to expand the real living wage through their city.

Adam Coldwells, deputy chief executive of NHS Grampian, said: “Pay in the NHS in Scotland is set nationally, and we were already paying the minimum amount required for accreditation. However, we deal with a great many external contractors, so the commitment to work with them to encourage the same was a big undertaking. I am delighted so many of them have been willing to come on board. 

“We want NHS Grampian to be an anchor organisation, an employer which brings people to, and keeps them in, the north-east of Scotland. Achieving living wage accreditation is one part of that.”

Peter Kelly, director of The Poverty Alliance, said: “We all need an income that is enough to cover our needs and protect us from poverty, and it is only right that employers pay a wage that reflects the cost of living. Too many workers in Scotland are paid less than the real living wage and, at a time of rising costs, are struggling to stay afloat. The real living wage can offer protection from those rising costs.

Congratulations to NHS Grampian on its living wage commitment, and I hope more organisations follow its lead by becoming living wage accredited.” 

Gail Irvine, manager at Living Wage Scotland, added: “We are delighted that NHS Grampian has become an accredited living wage employer. It joins a growing movement of over 2,700 employers in Scotland [that] together want to ensure workers have what they need.”