Helen Whately – 2021 Statement on NHS Staff Pay

The statement made by Helen Whately, the Minister for Care, in the House of Commons on 8 March 2021.

This pandemic has asked so much of our health and care system. The whole country recognises how our NHS workforce have performed with distinction and gone the extra mile throughout this crisis, which has also had a huge impact on our economy. It has been and still is a tough time for businesses and all those who work in them.

As hon. Members will be aware, most of the public sector is having a pay freeze. However, even against that backdrop, we will continue to provide pay rises for NHS workers, as the Chancellor set out at the spending review. This follows a multi-year pay deal, which over a million NHS staff have benefited from and which includes a pay rise of over 12% for newly qualified nurses. We are also ramping up our investment in our NHS, with a £6.2 billion increase for 2021-22, as part of our £34 billion commitment by 2024-25, and £3 billion for supporting recovery and reducing waiting lists. As part of that, we are increasing the number of staff in the NHS, with over 6,500 more doctors, almost 10,600 more nurses, and over 18,700 more health support workers in the NHS now than a year ago. We are also on track to have 50,000 more nurses in the NHS by the end of the Parliament.

Last week, we submitted our evidence to the NHS pay review bodies, which are independent advisory bodies made up of industry experts. Their recommendations are based on an assessment of evidence from a range of stakeholders, including trade unions. They will report their recommendations in late spring, and we will carefully consider their recommendations when we receive them.

I can assure the House that we are committed to the NHS and to the amazing people who work in it. Just as they have been so vital throughout this pandemic, they will continue to be the very essence of our health service, together with all those who work in social care, as we come through this pandemic and build a health and care system for the future.