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Monday, 17 December, 2001, 17:57 GMT
Pay hike for NHS workers
Hospital doctors, nurses, dentists and other health service workers in England and Scotland are to get a 3.6% pay increase from next April - twice the current rate of inflation.

General practitioners are to receive an extra 1% on top of that. Trainee GPs will receive a total increase of 19.5% designed to encourage more doctors to opt for a career in primary care.

We feel this award does not go far enough to tackle the problem of recruiting and retaining nurses

Dr Beverly Malone
Ministers have also agreed to an extra pay boost for workers in areas where there are particularly severe staff shortages.

Newly qualified physiotherapists, radiographers and occupational therapists will get a pay rise of around 7.5%.

Some 40,000 of the lowest paid nursing auxiliaries will get an increase of up to 4.3%.

And some Senior House Officers in hospitals will see an increase of 8.8%.

Nurse consultants and modern matrons have also been singled out for targeted awards worth at least 6.6% to reflect their new responsibilities.

Stand-by and on-call payments to nurses are to rise by 50%.

Inflation busting

NHS pay
Grade E nurse - up to 20,655
Modern matron - up to 32,760
GP - 59,109
Consultant - up to 68,505
Consultant with an A plus distinction award - 133,585

The announcement marks the fourth year in a row that the pay rise for NHS staff has been more than the rate of inflation.

It is also the fourth year in a row that the government has agreed to implement fully the recommendations of the pay review bodies.

Health Secretary Alan Milburn said: "These increases in pay are needed to get more staff working in the NHS and to keep them working in the NHS."

However, Dr Beverly Malone, General Secretary, Royal College of Nursing said nurses would feel "sorely let down" by the award.

She said an experienced staff nurse (Grade E) earning just over 18,000 a year would see their pay rise by just 9 a week.

Not enough

Dr Malone said: "We feel this award does not go far enough to tackle the problem of recruiting and retaining nurses.

"Pay is the single most effective factor to increase recruitment, improve retention and to demonstrate to nurses that they are valued. Frankly, this award is not good enough."

"We still have too many vacancies in the NHS.

"If the quality of patient care is to be maintained and improved and if the government's targets for NHS modernisation are to be met, we have to keep experienced nurses in nursing, attract others back, as well as keeping new recruits in the NHS in the long term.

"Nurses are still paid significantly less than other public sector workers such as police and teachers."

GPs happy

Dr John Chisholm, chairman of the British Medical Association's GP Committee, said the extra money for family doctors suggested that the Dentists and Doctors Review Body (DDRB) had taken on board the depth of the recruitment crisis afflicting primary care.

He said: "We are pleased that the government accepts that GPs are under pressure and that the DDRB has started to recognise the particular problems of general practice by taking some steps in the right direction through the awards to GPs and GP registrars."

BMA consultants' leader Dr Peter Hawker was less pleased.

He said: "Consultants are beginning to vote with their feet because they feel overloaded and undervalued.

"The Review Body could have made a better start in tackling the problem, as they have for my GP colleagues."

Both GPs and consultants are currently in negotiations over new contracts.

Managers response

Nigel Edwards, acting chief executive of the NHS Confederation said: "The award of 3.6% is a good and fair deal for NHS staff.

"The NHS Confederation is committed seeing to long-term sustainable improvement in the salaries of NHS staff. This award is a good step on that path."

"The NHS still needs to recruit and retain more medical, nursing and professional staff. Although pay is by no means the only factor, it obviously has a major role to play in the process.

"We believe that this award will assist NHS organisations in the recruitment and retention of nursing and other staff."

The BBC's Karen Allen
"There are two parts to the deal"
The BBC's Neil Bennett
"An experienced staff nurse will get an increase of 9 a week"
Karen Jennings of Unison
"It is a step in the right direction"
See also:

18 Dec 00 | Health
Pay boost for NHS staff
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