Government seeks views on new pay scale for NHS nurses
A call for evidence will collate feedback from across the health sector on the merits of a separate pay structure
- Call for evidence launched to determine the benefits and risks of a separate pay structure for nursing staff in the NHS
- It seeks to understand whether the Agenda for Change contract is creating specific barriers to the career progression of nurses
- It will run for 12 weeks and provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to share their views and suggestions
The government has published a call for evidence to seek views on a new pay scale for nurses.
It will collate feedback from across the health sector on the merits of a separate pay structure for nursing staff in the NHS, considering both the risk and benefits of this approach.
The government has heard the concerns of nursing staff and their representatives about the challenges they face in terms of career progression and professional development.
The call for evidence will seek to understand whether the Agenda for Change contract – covering more than 1 million NHS workers such as nurses, midwives, paramedics, as well as other non-medical, workers - is creating specific barriers to the career progression of nurses and explore solutions that could be considered if the evidence shows there are issues with the current arrangements.
Health Minister Andrew Stephenson said:
"We hugely value the work of nurses, who play a vital role in the NHS.
"We have listened to union concerns and are launching this call for evidence to explore the risks and benefits of a separate pay structure for nurses.
"I want stakeholders to share their expertise and help us collate feedback from across the healthcare sector, ultimately helping to make the NHS a better place to work."
This call for evidence, which runs for 12 weeks, will now provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to share their views and suggestions. Any changes will be carefully considered and the government will publish a response in due course.
Nurses play a vital role in the NHS and that is why the government agreed a deal for the Agenda for Change (AfC) workforce through the NHS Staff Council in May 2023. This resulted in a pay rise of 5% for 2023 to 2024 alongside two one off payments worth over £2,000 on average for full-time nurses, alongside a series of non-pay measures to support the NHS workforce, including improving opportunities for nursing career progression.
The government is taking steps to support and grow the workforce - data published in November showed there were 51,245 additional nurses in September 2023 compared to 2019. This means the number of nurses has increased from 300,904 in 2019 to over 352,000 - hitting the government’s commitment to recruit an additional 50,000 nurses six months early.
It is the largest ever sustained growth in the NHS nursing workforce, with the expanded workforce delivering hundreds of thousands of extra appointments, helping to tackle waiting lists and improve access for patients.
The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan - backed by over £2.4 billion over five years – also sets out three priority areas to train, retain and reform the health workforce. The plan will significantly expand domestic education, training and recruitment and will deliver more nurses than ever before. It will almost double the number of adult nurse training places by 2031, with around 24,000 more nurse and midwife training places a year by 2031. This will include over 5,000 more mental and learning disability nurses a year.