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Monday, February 1, 1999 Published at 17:15 GMT


What nurses will get

Nursing leaders have given a cautious welcome to news of big pay rises for newly qualified and staff nurses.

In a bid to attract more people into nursing, the government has announced that newly qualified nurses outside London are to get a 12% pay rise.

Health: Background Briefing: NHS pay '99
Staff nurses will get an 8.2% pay rise, but the general pay increase will be 4.7%.

The figure for newly qualified nurses is slightly higher than expected and means their pay will rise from 12,855 to 14,397.

Grade D staff nurses outside London are to get an 8.2% pay increase, boosting their pay from boosting their pay from a maximum of 14,705 to 15,905.

But the overall rise for nurses is 4.7% which takes a midwife's salary from 14,705 to 16,235.

The government says the pay rise, which will be implemented from 1 April, is the biggest real terms increase in nurses' pay in 10 years and has confirmed that it will not be staged.

In a statement released on Monday it said more than two out of three nurses will now be paid over 20,000.

Nurses working in London, where the recruitment crisis has hit hard, will get a 15.4% increase in the London Allowance - up from 1,910 to 2,205. This means junior nurses in London will receive 17,325 and staff nurses will get 20,785.

The outer London allowance will go up from 1,360 to 1,570.

Nurses will also receive an average 11% increase in allowances on top of their basic salary.

For example, staff nurses will get about 1,600 extra.

Junior sisters and ward sisters and charge nurses will have an additional three discretionary points on their basic salary.

Junior sisters' salary will go up from 19,985 to 20,925. If they receive their discretionary points their pay would go up to 22,205.

Ward sisters and charge nurses will receive 23,300 - up from 22,255. If they receive their discretionary points, their pay will rise to 24,515.

Newly qualified occupational therapists, physiotherapists, radiographers, and chiropodists (Professions Allied to Medicine or PAMS), will get an 8.6% pay rise.

The average rise for PAMS will be 8.4%. This is achieved by removing the bottom grade of pay and adding an extra grade to the top of the scale.

The London Allowance for PAMS will go up by 15.4% to the London Allowance.

Modern pay deal

Health Secretary Frank Dobson said:"A modern NHS requires a modern pay system. This deal provides the platform for achieving that."

In addition to the pay boost, the government is launching a 5m TV and billboard advertising campaign to attract nurses into the profession.

Nurses have given a mixed welcome to the news.

Christine Hancock of the Royal College of Nursing said that if the increase attracted more people into nursing it would "enable this government to deliver the modernised NHS it wants to see".

The RCN is worried that the 4.7% general pay rise will not help keep experienced nurses in the NHS or bring experienced nurses back into the profession.

Others have expressed concern that the difference in pay levels between grade D and other nurses will increase tensions on the ward.

One newly qualified nurse at Birmingham's Selly Oak Hospital, said she was pleased with her pay rise, but she added: "There is no incentive to go higher up the grades. And it will not attract people back into the profession."

Rodney Bickerstaffe, general secretary of public service union Unison, said he was delighted with the pay boost for junior nurses.

But he was concerned unqualified nurses had not got a similar boost.

He said: "Unison's verdict is that the pay review body has delivered to the few, but that there is still a long way to go before all nurses are fairly rewarded."

Meanwhile, ancillary workers and maintenance staff - who are not covered by pay review bodies - are calling for a 10% pay rise.

GMB national officer Brian Strutton said: "Support staff are the backbone of any hospital."

He added that 15,000 support staff leave their job every year.

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