Non-NHS health staff win one-off bonus

one-off bonusThousands of health workers will now receive a one-off bonus after threatening legal action against the government.

A payment of at least £1,655 was agreed for NHS workers as part of their pay deal in England, but thousands of outsourced staff did not qualify for this as they worked for non-NHS organisations.

The one-off NHS bonus payment of between £1,655 and £3,789 was granted in recognition of the pressure of the Covid pandemic on staff, alongside a pay rise of 5% for the 2023-23 pay session.

However, staff such as physiotherapists and community workers working for charities, local authorities and social enterprises that provide services for the NHS, were told they would not qualify as they were not directly employed.

Social Enterprise UK, which represents 10,000 social enterprise workers, described this as an “injustice” and threatened legal action against the government.

The Department of Health has now said it will grant these workers the bonus, and will support independent health organisations to do this, although they have to apply for funding and “show they have been negatively financially impacted by the pay deal”.

Staff eligible for the deal will also need to be employed on Agenda for Change contracts. Those that have already made the payments can apply to be reimbursed.

Health minister Will Quince said: “Given the difficult economic context we have made the decision to provide additional funding on this occasion to help deliver the one-off payments to eligible staff employed by non-NHS organisations.

“This will ensure hardworking healthcare staff and the organisations they work for are not financially disadvantaged as a result of the NHS pay deal, and means they will receive their backlog bonus for their efforts during the pandemic.”

Peter Holbrook, chief executive of Social Enterprise UK, added: “We’re pleased to see the government acknowledge the critical role of social enterprises in the NHS family, with tens of thousands of staff delivering vital care across the country and services reinvesting profits to help local communities.”

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham described the government’s response as “barely a sticking plaster from a government that has defunded the NHS to the point it is now on life support”.

She said: “Instead of doing the right thing and funding a lump sum payment for everyone who works in the NHS, it has instead created a multi-tier workforce.”