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After positive discussions over recent weeks with NHS trade unions and NHS employers, the Scottish Government has offered a substantial pay rise for NHS Scotland Agenda for Change staff, which includes health care support workers.

If accepted by staff, this deal will be most generous National Health Service pay uplift anywhere in the UK, and would represent the biggest single year increase in pay for NHS staff since devolution.

The pay rises will benefit 154,000 NHS Agenda for Change employees – including nurses, paramedics, allied health professionals, as well as domestic, healthcare support staff, porters and other front line health workers.

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The pay rise would ensure that staff on the pay bands 1 to 7 would receive at least a four per cent pay rise compared to 2020/21, with the staff who earned less than £25,000 in 2020/21 getting a guaranteed minimum increase of over £1,000 in 2021/22. This means that staff on the lowest Agenda for Change pay point would get a 5.4 per cent increase. Those on the highest pay points will receive uplifts of £800.

While pay increases are usually effective from 1 April the 2021/22 pay settlement will be backdated to 1 December 2020 in recognition of an exceptional year of significant pressure for staff. This follows the £500 thank you payment for health and social care workers.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “Following positive discussions with NHS unions and employees the Scottish Government has put forward an offer of the biggest single pay uplift since devolution for NHS Agenda for Change staff.

“Over 154,000 staff would benefit from this rise, which would see the average pay of an front line NHS nurse rise by over £1,200 a year.

“This deal also includes support staff such as domestic staff, porters and health care support workers, the backbone of our services, who would see pay rises of over £1,000 – uplifts of between 4 per cent – 5.4 per cent. The uplift will be backdated from 1 December 2020, rather than the usual 1 April 2021, meaning all those covered by the deal will receive an extra benefit.

“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.”

The offer is a product of ongoing negotiations between the Scottish Government, NHS employers and unions. NHS Unions will now consult their members on the offer.

The UK Government’s submission to the NHS Pay Review body provided for a £250 uplift for staff earning less than £24,000 and one per cent for all other NHS Agenda for Change staff.

Such a contrast is unlikely to go unnoticed by the independent pay review panel in England which is due to make its recommendations in May.

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