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July 2021

Agenda for Change nurses to get 3% pay award

The Government has bowed to public pressure to increase its pay award to NHS staff from 1% to 3% – but the increase excludes GP partners who would have to pay an equivalent pay rise to practice nurses from their own pockets.

The 3% award will be backdated to April for all NHS staff covered by Agenda for Change (AfC) pay scales, and for salaried GPs and practice staff – but the global sum paid to GP partnerships to cover staff costs is only due to increase by 2.1% in 2021-22, under the terms of the current 5-year contract deal.

The BMA said it was ‘hugely disappointed’ by the award, which doesn’t go far enough in recognising the efforts made by frontline staff in the last 18 months, and doesn’t address the significant pay erosion of recent years.

BMA GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘It’s shameful for the Government to sell this as a pay rise for doctors, while asking other doctors to foot the bill. It’s absolutely critical that the Government provides additional money to practices now so they are able to pay the 3% uplift.’

The RCN said the 3% rise was ‘bitterly disapponting’. The RCN has been campaigning for a 12.5% increase for all nursing staff covered by AfC, and warns that – with inflation predicted to rise to 3.7% – the award amounts to a pay cut for an experienced nurse of over £200 in real terms.

The Health Foundation described the award as a‘treading water’ pay offer, compared to the wider economy where average earnings have increased by between 3.2% and 4.4%. In an analysis of NHS pay over the past decade, the charity found that while actual pay for nurses had increased by £4,044 since 2011, after taking into account inflation, it dropped by more than £1,500.

Practice Nurse 2021;51(6):6