Headlines: December 19th, 2000

The Pay Review Body has recommended that doctors and dentists receive a pay rise of 3.9% across the board and nurses 3.7%. Inflation stands at 3.2%. The Government will implement the recommendations in full from April 2001. Health Secretary Alan Milburn claimed the pay rises will help increase still further the numbers of trained, qualified staff working in the NHS. Unions warned that the target of an extra 20,000 nurses pledged for the NHS by 2005 will only be achieved if more staff are attracted into the profession by better pay and conditions.In addition to the across the board pay rise, there will be additional targeted increases aimed at retaining and recruiting nurses where there is a particular shortage. Senior nursing staff, such as ward sisters and clinical specialists will receive extra payments. Nurses in London could also see a rise of between 6% and 9%. In a further move to make the health service a more attractive place to work, there will be greater investment in childcare facilities.

The effect of the rises is that a new staff nurse who is currently earning just under 15,000 pounds will see her pay rise to just over 15,500 pounds. For the lowest grade of unregistered nurse earning 9000 pounds there will be a rise of 330 pounds.

UNISON, which represents 350,000 nurses will be calling on the government for a meeting to discuss improving pay in the longer term. The UNISON Scotland secretary pointed out that the average wage for a skilled worker is ?21,000, but even after this increase a qualified nurse, educated to degree level and working in a coronary care unit will earn ?100 a week less than the average.