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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 March 2007, 20:40 GMT
Nursing leaders attack pay offer
Nursing officials are dismayed by the latest pay offer
Scotland's nursing leaders have criticised a UK-wide pay deal which will give them a phased 2.5% wage rise.

The Royal College of Nursing in Scotland said the deal would leave nurses "angry, frustrated and let down".

The SNP also attacked the pay award and said it was "derisory".

But the deal was defended by the Scottish Executive, which said that it would take average nursing salaries up from 30,500 to 32,000.

Starting salaries would go up from 19,200 to 19,700 and the salaries of the highest-paid nurses would go up from 60,900 to 62,400, according to the executive.

A spokesman said a combination of the pay rise and progression through salary bands would result in an average increase next year of 4.4%.

The awards reflect the tremendous efforts NHS Scotland staff makes for our National Health Service
Andy Kerr
Health Minister

The UK-wide NHS pay deal will cover 154,000 NHS staff in Scotland, including 5,800 consultants and specialists, 5,500 junior doctors, and 66,000 nurses and midwives.

For nurses, the deal will be rolled out in two stages from April to November.

Health Minister Andy Kerr said: "Today's announcements of pay awards across the public sector strike a balance between fairness and discipline in the fight against inflation.

"We have aimed to ensure that they are affordable within existing spending limits and consistent with continuing control of public finances.

"The awards also reflect the tremendous efforts NHS Scotland staff makes for our National Health Service, in improving patient care and in meeting our targets."

But RCN Scotland chairwoman Jane McCready said the deal effectively amounted to a cut.

She said: "It is regrettable that the government plans to impose this award in stages.

'Derisory' offer

"This is unfair and it is undeserved. This news will leave nurses feeling angry, frustrated and let down.

"RCN Scotland is committed to working with the Scottish Executive on the difficult agenda that lies ahead but they should also understand that today's announcement makes this harder."

Shona Robison, SNP health spokeswoman, said the pay deal was an "insult" and a "derisory offer".

She added: "How does the government expect to deliver a top class health care service when it treats nurses in such a shabby fashion?"

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