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The BBC's Niall Dickson
"The link between recruitment and pay is a complex one"
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Health Secretary Alan Milburn
"People will recognise these are fair pay rises"
 real 56k

Christine Hancock, Royal College of Nursing
"A mixed award"
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Monday, 18 December, 2000, 15:50 GMT
Pay boost for NHS staff
Senior nurses will get more
Senior nurses will get more
Above-inflation pay rises for doctors and nurses have been labelled "unsatisfactory".

Surprisingly, doctors received more than many junior nurses, but their leaders said the rise of 3.9%, while above inflation, would do little to motivate front-line staff.

The Royal College of Nursing welcomed the 5% rise targeted at 70,000 senior nurses, but said the 3.7% increase for other grades was "disappointing".

Opposition health spokesman Dr Liam Fox immediately questioned whether the awards would be enough to keep staff in the NHS.

Dentists' leaders were also critical of the award, saying the 3.9% boost was unlikely to improve the current shortage of NHS dentists.

Senior nursing staff, such as ward sisters and clinical specialists are set to get extra payments.

And those in London could see a rise of between 6% and 9%.

All the awards are above the current rate of inflation, which stands at 3.2%.

It is hardly the winter tonic that doctors had been hoping for

Dr Ian Bogle
BMA chairman

Health Secretary Alan Milburn said: "These fair and affordable pay rises will help increase still further the numbers of trained, qualified staff working in the NHS."

He said the increases were aimed to work "hand-in-hand" with efforts to help staff who live in the most expensive parts of the country, better reward junior doctors, and investment in childcare facilities for NHS staff.

He added: "The biggest rise in NHS spending for a generation means that we can expand the numbers of staff in the NHS and increase rates of pay."

The new pay award means:

  • Newly qualified nurses outside London will earn a minimum of 15.445;
  • Senior nurses will earn between 21.605 and 26,290;
  • Top grade specialist nurses will see pay increase by betwen 1,270 and 1,515 a year
  • Nurse consultants could earn a top rate of 45,050;
  • GPs' average pay will rise to 56,335;
  • Consultants' starting salaries will be up to 50,810;
  • Junior doctors' salaries will start at 24,165

'Good news'

Christine Hancock, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said the pay award was "good news" for senior nurses who she said had born the brunt of pressures and were key to modernising the health service.

She added: "The Government has listened to the RCN's concerns about keeping the most experienced nurses - this extra money should help keep them in the NHS."

The Government has listened to the RCN's concerns about keeping the most experienced nurses - this extra money should help keep them in the NHS

Christine Hancock
RCN general secretary

But she said the basic rise of 3.7% would be a "disappointment" and would not be enough to encourage nurses back to the health service. She called for action on family-friendly initiatives and housing costs.

Shadow health secretary Liam Fox called for extra funding.

He added : "Doctors are increasingly taking early retirement and more nurses applied to work abroad last year than ever before.

"Unless any award is met with extra funds from the Treasury, the cost will inevitably come out of front-line services which have already been budgeted for."

Karen Jennings, head of nursing at the public sector union Unison, said the government had missed an opportunity to boost the pay of the lowest grade nurses.

BMA call

Doctors received 3.9%, slightly more than their pay award last year when hospital doctors, general practitioners and dentists received a 3.3% increase.

The BMA criticised the award, though welcomed the fact the pay increase would not be paid in full and not in staged payments as has been in the case in some years.

Dr Ian Bogle, chairman of the BMA, said: "It is hardly the winter tonic that doctors had been hoping for.

"While it is an above inflation award, it will do little to motivate front line staff and even less to tackle the major shortfall of doctors in the UK."

Other health professionals such as physiotherapists, occuptional therapists, chiropodists and dietitians will receive a 3.7% increase in basic pay.

Chief negotiator Phil Green said: "This pay increase is no more than a stepping stone to providing salaries needed to attract staff into the Health Service.

"Thousands of patients across the country are denied treatment each week due to the shortages of staff."

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See also:

11 Dec 00 | Health
Row over nursing targets
17 Jan 00 | Health
Why an NHS nurse is hard to find
17 Jan 00 | NHS in crisis
NHS pay and staffing at a glance
27 Nov 00 | Health
Junior doctors pay boost arrives
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