Government must reconsider urgently 1% NHS pay proposal, all health unions tell PM

Please see letter from the Staff Side Secretariat to the Prime Minister regarding the NHS pay award following yesterday’s announcement from the Scottish Government.  Below is the accompanying press release.



Government must “reconsider urgently” 1% NHS pay proposal, all health unions tell PM

NHS staff in the rest of the UK will be “bewildered” as they contrast​the pay offer in Scotland with plans for the rest of the UK, the 14 NHS unions have told the Prime Minister.

The representatives of 1.3 million NHS workers​have today (Thursday) written to Boris Johnson asking to meet with​him and​his officials to find a way forward.

Three weeks ago, the Department of Health​and Social Care signalled its intention to award a 1​% pay rise later this year following the outcome of the ​NHS ​pay​review​body, blaming the current state of public finances.

Today’s letter reminds the​government of the public response to the 1​% pay proposal and sa​ys the announcement sent an “extremely damaging message to NHS staff, at the worst possible time”.

The ​health unions highlight that the new financial year begins in one week – when a new pay deal should have been in place – and they accuse the government of “deliberately delaying” until​the summer.

The letter, signed by the lead negotiators from UNISON, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives on behalf of all 14 unions, says:

“When NHS staff in England contrast the Scottish offer with what you have proposed for them, they will feel increasingly bewildered by how you are choosing to treat them.

“One week today is the start of the new financial year when the most recent NHS deal will expire. Staff across the UK are expecting a new pay award to be in place for 1 April 2021, but your government has imposed serious delays to the process.

“Last July, we wrote to the Chancellor asking to begin early discussions between NHS unions and government on a well-deserved and significant pay award but these were not forthcoming. We entered the Pay Review Body (PRB) process in good faith and submitted our evidence at the start of this year. Yet the government has deliberately delayed its decision to June or July.

“When the UK government’s submission to the PRB came to light three weeks ago, you will recall the response from NHS staff and the public. The majority of people – irrespective of their political affiliation – believe the 1% NHS pay proposal to be unfair.

“As representatives of 1.3 million NHS staff, we urge you to reconsider your proposals urgently. At your recent Budget, and in the days since, you have demonstrated the government’s priorities for public expenditure lie elsewhere. In the middle of pandemic, this has sent an extremely damaging message to NHS staff at the worst possible time.

“On behalf of NHS staff, we are available to discuss this with you and your officials and help all sides to identify a new way forward at the earliest opportunity.”


Notes to Editors

Health workers are currently in the final year of a three-year deal. They’re due a pay rise on Thursday (1 April). The government’s evidence to the NHS pay review body has proposed a 1% pay increase. The pay review body is due to make its recommendation later in the year. The Prime Minister has told MPs to wait for the pay review body report and that the government won’t make a decision on pay until then.  

Unions are urging the public to put colourful posters in their windows next Thursday in support of a proper pay rise for NHS staff. Unions say this will show the public strength of feeling on the day NHS staff should have received a wage increase and be a welcome 'thank you' for all their tireless efforts over the past year to keep everyone safe.

The 14 NHS unions are: British Association of Occupational Therapists, British Dietetic Association, British and Irish Orthoptic Society, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, College of Podiatry, Federation of Clinical Scientists, GMB, Managers in Partnership, Prison Officers Association, Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Nursing, Society of Radiographers, UNISON and Unite.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is the voice of nursing across the UK and is the largest professional union of nursing staff in the world. The RCN promotes the interest of nurses and patients on a wide range of issues and helps shape healthcare policy by working closely with the UK Government and other national and international institutions, trade unions, professional bodies and voluntary organisations.

For more information, contact the RCN press office at 020 7647 3633 or email



Representing over 30,000 Prison, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers, the POA is the largest UK Union in this sector, able to trace its roots back more than 100 years.