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2021-22 Pay Review Body Recommendations

Volume 699: debated on Wednesday 21 July 2021

I am responding on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to both the 34th report of the NHS pay review body (NHSPRB) and to the 49th report of the review body on doctors’ and dentists’ renumeration (DDRB). I am grateful to both Chairs and the members of both review bodies for their reports.

At the 2020 spending review, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced that pay uplifts in the public sector would be paused this year due to the challenging fiscal and economic context, but, given the unique impact of covid-19 on the health service, and despite the challenging economic context, the Chancellor committed to continue to provide for pay rises for over 1 million NHS workers.

It is within this context and after careful consideration of both reports that we have chosen to accept the recommendations of both PRBs for 2021-22. In doing so, we have committed to uplifting the salaries of staff within the remit groups by 3% on a consolidated basis. This is expected to be a real-terms increase and nurses will receive an average increase of around £1,000. Overall, the awards amount to a cost to the NHS of £1.9 billion for the “Agenda for Change” workforce and £0.3 billion for consultants.

This is not without its challenges given the economic and fiscal context.

This is an annual process and as is always the case, decisions about future awards will be considered in light of the fiscal context and ensuring awards are affordable and fair.

Investing in the NHS to ensure patients get the care they need as quickly as possible is also a key priority for this Government. We are delivering on our historic long-term settlement for the NHS, which will see NHS funding increase by £33.9 billion by 2023-24. To recognise the unprecedented pressure facing the NHS, the Government are providing £3 billion of additional funding to the NHS in 2021-22 to support its recovery from the impacts of covid.

The DDRB were asked not to make a pay recommendation for contractor general medical practitioners (GMPs), doctors and dentists in training or specialty and associate specialist doctors moving onto new contracts as those groups are within multi-year deals. For doctors and dentists in training the multi-year deal will mean all junior doctor pay scales will have increased by 8.2% by the end of the deal, and in addition circa £90 million is being invested to reform the contract, including to create a new, higher pay point to recognise the most experienced doctors in training.

The Government are also committed to delivering 50,000 more nurses in the NHS by the end of this Parliament and this pay award will help us to ensure we can continue to recruit and retain the nurses we need to reach this target. The number of NHS nurses currently employed in CCGs and NHS Trusts is at the highest recorded level in England, and the latest published NHS Digital provisional data for April 2021 shows 303,800 FTE nurses in NHS Trusts and CCGs, almost 9,000 FTE more than April 2020.

Salaried GMPs

For salaried GMPs the minimum and maximum pay range set out in the model terms and conditions will be uplifted. As self-employed contractors to the NHS, it is for GMP practices to determine uplifts in pay for their employees.

Clinical excellence awards

The Government also acknowledge the DDRB’s comments on clinical excellence awards and their reasons for not recommending an increase in their value. With this in mind, we will progress our plans to reform these awards with a view to introducing new arrangements from 2022.

General dental practitioners

For general dental practitioners, there will be a 3% general uplift in the pay element of their contract backdated to April 2021.

The Government recognise the significant impact that the covid-19 pandemic has had on NHS dentistry, as discussed within the DDRB report. In response to these challenges, the Government have ensured that dentists receive their full contract value, minus deductions which are pre-agreed, in exchange for a reduced threshold of activity.