Protester holding a megaphone during a rally

NHS strikes set to end as government agrees pay deal with health unions

More than one million NHS staff in England are set to receive an extra pay rise after the Government reached an agreement with health unions in a move that could put a halt to the ongoing disruption caused by industrial action.

The offer comes after two weeks of negotiations between government and the unions who are representing everyone from nurses, paramedics and 999 call handlers all the way to midwives, security guards and cleaners.

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, the British Diabetic Association, the Royal College of Nursing, UNISON and GMB have all indicated that they will recommend the new offer to their members, as strikes continue to be paused as said consultations take place.

Reacting to the news, NHS Employers’ Chief Executive, Danny Mortimer, said: "The offer in principle from the Government to trade unions ratified on 16 March by the NHS Staff Council is a positive step for NHS teams and their patients.

“If accepted by trade union members, it will end a year of increasingly disruptive dispute between NHS staff and the government, which has seen many staff deciding to take unprecedented levels of industrial action across England.”

Under the proposed deal, Agenda for Change staff will get a non-consolidated award of 2% of an individual’s salary for 2022/23 – this supplements the Pay Review Body-recommended 4% pay increase received last year.

In addition to this, staff will also get a one-off ‘NHS Backlog Bonus’ which the Government says recognises the sustained pressure affecting the health service post-pandemic and thus the extraordinary effort from staff to meet record demand and recovery targets.

The bonus will be worth at least £1,250 per person; though the final amount will ultimately be determined by how much experience staff have and what pay band they are in. For 2023/24, the deal is offering Agenda for Change staff a 5% consolidated pay rise.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “I’m really pleased that after several weeks of constructive talks, the government and the Agenda for Change unions have come to an agreement that will provide a fair deal for NHS staff and put disruptive strike action behind us.

“It is right that we reward our hardworking NHS staff, who showed bravery and dedication throughout the pandemic and continue to make phenomenal progress to tackle waiting lists. Importantly this deal is also affordable for the taxpayer and continues to deliver on my promise to halve inflation.”

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