Scottish NHS staff accept 6.5% pay deal

NHS workers need ‘decent pay’ to feel valuedAll Scottish health unions have voted to accept NHS Scotland’s latest pay offer for 2023/24, which includes a pay increase.

The deal will see most nurses, paramedics, midwives and porters receive a 6.5% rise, with a floor of £1,548 and a cap of £3,755.

They will also receive a one-off non-consolidated amount, ranging between £387 and £939, depending on their place on the Agenda for Change pay matrix. This will be paid pro-rata for part-time staff, based upon the incremental point and contracted hours in place on 1 April, while it will be based on contracted hours held on record for those who are absent due to sickness, on maternity, paternity or shared parental leave, or on a career break.

Employees on organisational change pay protection as of 1 April will have their protected earnings level increased by the appropriate pay uplift flat rate or percentage for their place on the scale.

Several unions had mandates to strike after rejecting a previous pay offer, but these were suspended in January ahead of negotiations over the now accepted deal.

According to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, it will review the offer in England regarding any impact on agreed pay offers, but cannot take action until English members have accepted the deal.

Jaki Lambert, director for Scotland at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “This is a good offer that gives our members most of what they had been asking for including an above inflation pay award and a commitment to reform of NHS pay bands.

“While pay is crucial, this was also about midwives feeling seen and valued. Improving retention through better working conditions, professional midwifery issues and the wellbeing of staff are also a key component of this. Most importantly, it was also about our members standing tall and being prepared to take action to ensure better care for women, babies, and their families.”

Wilma Brown, chair of the health committee at Unison Scotland, said: “While acceptance of this pay offer will remove the spectre of industrial action there is no room for complacency. This pay deal does nothing to solve the NHS Scotland staffing crisis.

“Government commitments to review the working week; deliver fair pay rise on promotion and tackle the workforce crisis must make rapid progress and be backed up with new money to ensure that patients and staff get the NHS they deserve.”

Matt Mclaughlin, head of health at Unison Scotland, added: “This deal was agreed after intensive talks between the government, unions and employers. We now need to get back around the table to sort out the staffing crisis in Scotland’s NHS.

“Patients are waiting too long for routine operations and staff are working under unacceptable stressful conditions. We have agreed to go straight back into talks with the government review nursing, to reduce staff vacancies and review NHS pay structures. The NHS needs to be made fit for purpose so staff can provide a world class service.”

Humza Yousaf, NHS Scotland’s health secretary, said: “I’m delighted that members of RCN have joined Unison and GMB in voting to accept our record pay offer. This ensures Scotland’s NHS Agenda for Change staff are, by far and away, the best paid anywhere in the UK. We are also committed to delivering the most progressive package of terms and conditions reform in decades. We await the outcome of the remaining union ballots.”