NHS England chief Sir Simon Stevens: staff had been in line for a higher pay rise

9 March 2021, 14:21 | Updated: 9 March 2021, 14:23

Plans set out in 2019 had budgeted for NHS pay to increase by 2.1% this year, Sir Simon Stevens said
Plans set out in 2019 had budgeted for NHS pay to increase by 2.1% this year, Sir Simon Stevens said. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

The head of the NHS in England has confirmed healthcare staff had been in line for a higher pay rise and insisted they should be “properly rewarded” for their work during the pandemic.

Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said plans set out in 2019 had budgeted for NHS pay to increase by 2.1% this year.

However, he acknowledged that things have changed since then.

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It comes after the Government defended plans to give some NHS staff in England a 1% pay rise.

Sir Simon said he thought the Government’s overall approach was the right one, and that the issue should be resolved by an independent pay review body which needs to be able to do its work “without fear or favour”.

Sir Simon gives evidence to the Commons Health and Social Care Committee
Sir Simon gives evidence to the Commons Health and Social Care Committee. Picture: PA

He told the Commons Health and Social Care Committee: "You would expect the head of the health service to want to see properly rewarded NHS staff, particularly given everything that the service has been through over the course of the last year.

"And so I think the right way to resolve this is the path the Government has actually set out which is to ask the independent pay review bodies to look at all of the evidence... and be able to independently make a fair recommendation so that NHS staff get the pay and reward that they deserve."

Sir Simon said frontline staff being properly rewarded is "entirely right".

Asked whether there has been consideration for a bonus to be paid to NHS staff, he responded: "That needs to be seen in the context of the overall judgments that the Government will make on NHS pay in the round.

"And I agree with you that coming out of the past year and everything that NHS staff have been through, proper recognition for that is entirely right.

"And that goes with the grain of what the public want to see, none of which is to ignore the broader economic context facing the country.

"As the head of the NHS, I'm wanting to make sure that staff get proper reward and not only support through that mechanism, but also fundamentally what staff want to see are a broader range of measures including further increases in the workforce to deal with some of the intense workforce pressures."