The Scottish government has offered NHS Scotland Agenda for Change staff — up to pay band 7 — a 4% pay rise.
If the offer is accepted, the Scottish government said in a statement that it “would represent the biggest single year increase in pay for NHS staff since devolution”.
While pay increases usually come into effect from the beginning of the financial year, the Scottish government would backdate the 2021–2022 increase to 1 December 2020 to recognise the pressure on staff owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pay rise would also mean staff who earned less than £25,000 in 2020–2021 will receive a guaranteed minimum increase of more than £1,000 in 2021–2022.
“This means that staff on the lowest Agenda for Change pay point would get a 5.4% increase,” the statement said.
The offer in Scotland follows government proposals that NHS staff in England should be given a lower-than-inflation pay rise of 1%, which hospital pharmacist representatives described as “callous”.
However, Paul Moloney, national officer for the Pharmacists’ Defence Association Union, said that, although the 4% figure was above inflation, “many of those in senior, demanding positions are being offered a much smaller increase”.
“Although this offer is by no means perfect, we would urge the UK government to adopt the same approach as the Scottish government and to treat NHS workers fairly,” he said.
“[The government] need to withdraw the 1% affordability cap it has asked the Independent Pay Review Body to take into account when it considers the size of the increase for health service workers, who will be doing exactly the same job as their colleagues working in Scotland”.
Jeane Freeman, the Scottish health secretary, said that more than “154,000 staff would benefit from this rise”.
“This has been an exceptionally challenging year for our health service and I am pleased that the Scottish government is able to recognise the service and dedication of our healthcare staff.”