Thank you for contacting me about NHS pay.
I am questioning the decision by Government as I recognise the invaluable work that nursing staff on the Island and across the country have done. NHS staff have worked tirelessly over the past year and I recognise the sacrifice they have all made to keep services going. I thank them for their continued dedication to their roles.
The coronavirus pandemic has had real consequences on public finances that this Government cannot ignore. I have been assured that the Government, through its recommendation for a 1 per cent pay rise for NHS staff, has tried to give NHS staff as much as it can at the present time.
It is also worth noting the broader context - all but the lowest paid workers across the public sector have had their pay frozen for 2021/22. In addition, we should not forget that over one million NHS staff also continue to benefit from multi-year pay deals agreed with trade unions, including a pay rise of over 12 per cent for newly qualified nurses, with the average nurse pay now £34,000 per year, and that junior doctors' pay has been increased by 8.2 per cent.
The Independent Pay Review Bodies will make recommendations in late Spring, when they will be considered by the Government. It is right that the Government does not pre-empt these recommendations.
I also welcome the investment that the Government has already made in the NHS workforce, including £513m in professional development and increased recruitment, £30m on staff mental health support including wellbeing hubs and occupational health support, and the new bursary programme giving at least £5,000 each year to new nursing, midwifery, and Allied Health professional students.