To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to financially support ambulance service staff who work a large number of unsocial hours per month in response to changes to unsocial hours payments as part of the 2018 NHS Pay Deal.
The National Health Service trade unions agreed as part of the three-year deal that new ambulance staff would be paid unsocial hours in the same way as everyone else under the Agenda for Change contract. This is so ambulance staff have the same arrangements as, for example, nurses and midwives.
We do not anticipate an impact on retention. Existing ambulance staff were given the choice to remain on their historic unsocial hours arrangements if they did not want to move to the new arrangements in place for all other staff. The latest data available does not show any reduction in unsocial hours pay for ambulance staff.
Under Section 2 of the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service, a percentage enhancement is paid on top of hours worked in unsocial hours periods, such as nights and weekends. These are the arrangements that apply to new ambulance staff and those that choose to switch to them, and mean the more unsocial hours that are worked, the higher the pay.
In 2016 a new job profile for paramedics was agreed with ambulance trade unions, allowing them to develop in to a higher pay band. Newly qualified paramedics can progress in to the higher band after two years if they meet the learning outcomes. Paramedics can be ‘fast-tracked’ if they can meet all the competencies in less than two years.