How the NHS values and retains its staff is critical and I was encouraged when a deal was agreed in 2018 ensuring a 6.5% pay rise for over one million NHS workers on Agenda for Change contracts over three years.
Ministers set aside £800 million to support the deal for 2018/19, and the Government’s long term funding settlement for the NHS, which will provide increased funding of £33.9 billion per year by 2023/24, is funding the pay rise over the remaining two years. Those on the lowest salaries in the NHS are seeing of the largest proportionate pay rises: the lowest NHS starting salary has increased year on year from £15,404 to £18,005 in 2020/2021. Many nurses and healthcare assistants are enjoying pay increases of at least 2.5%.
NHS staff are playing an integral part of the national effort to combat coronavirus - and we owe them a great deal of gratitude for all that they do. I know the Government is committed to supporting all staff now and in the future. Its unwavering support for frontline staff predates this unprecedented challenge. In addition to the 6.5% pay rise over the three years, the starting salary for newly qualified nurses has also increased by more than 12% and the Government has introduced a nurses' bursary which provides at least £5,000 of additional support to nursing students.
The fight against coronavirus is a national effort, and my colleagues and I are committed to giving NHS staff the additional support they need throughout it.