To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to paragraph 27 of the NHS Pay Review Body: 30th Report, Cm9440, what assessment he has made of the (a) implications for his policies and (b) sustainability of the finding that the default strategy to deal with significant increases in patient demand within a slowly increasing budget is by expecting NHS staff to work more intensively, in more stressful working environments, for pay that continues to decrease in real terms.
The dedication and sheer hard work of our National Health Service staff is absolutely crucial to delivering world-class care for patients. We know the entire health care team always put patients first and want to know they will have the right number of colleagues working alongside them in hospital or in the community.
NHS organisations spend around two thirds of their entire expenditure on pay – ensuring the NHS has the staff it relies crucially on, controlling pay and making every penny count for the benefit of patients. We are investing £21.9 billion in nominal case terms and £10 billion in real terms to fund the NHS's own plan for the future.
The inbuilt pressure of incremental pay for Agenda for Change staff is over £580 million a year, on top of annual pay awards.
We know pay restraint is challenging for staff, but a longitudinal study carried out by the Department on the earnings of Agenda for Change staff found that the total earnings of staff employed in the NHS in 2010 and still employed in 2015 increased by an average of between 1.7% and 2.9% per year, depending on staff group.
The average annual Consumer Price Index figure over the same period was 2.4%.
It is also important to point out that average earnings of NHS staff as a whole remains well above the national average salary for 2015 of £27,500 a year and has increased by more than annual pay awards.
The 2016 NHS Staff Survey shows that despite the challenges overall staff engagement continues to improve for the majority of Agenda for Change staff.
The Department’s longitudinal study can be found at Annex B of its evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body ‘Earnings change for Agenda for Change contracted employees 2010-2015 – a longitudinal study’ :