Welsh NHS and social care staff get £735 bonus in recognition of pandemic contribution

17 March 2021, 14:14 | Updated: 17 March 2021, 14:28

Community Care workers Vivienne Jenkins and Chantelle Healy leave a house after providing social care in Blackwood, Wales.
Community Care workers Vivienne Jenkins and Chantelle Healy leave a house after providing social care in Blackwood, Wales. Picture: Getty

By Joe Cook

Almost 222,000 NHS and social care staff in Wales will receive a £735 bonus payment to recognise their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic, Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething has said.

The one-off payment bonus is expected to see most workers taking home around £500 after tax and national insurance deductions.

Staff working for NHS Wales, in primary and social care, and students deployed to help professionals are all in line for the bonus, which will be funded by the Welsh government.

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Announcing the bonus, Mr Gething said: "Over the last year, Wales's NHS staff and social care staff have shown a remarkable amount of commitment and courage from the initial outbreak of the pandemic right through to the current second wave.

"They will have suffered the impacts of the pandemic on their physical and mental health wellbeing in both their personal and professional lives.

"This payment expresses our gratitude to our NHS and social care workforce for their extraordinary contribution in keeping Wales safe."

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The details of the scheme are currently being worked out between the Welsh government, local authorities and trade unions.

A £500 payment for care home and domiciliary care workers was already announced last May, with the latest bonus being made available to a wider group of social care workers including local authority social services staff.

The Welsh move comes amidst controversy in England about a one percent pay rise for NHS staff - which is essentially a cut when inflation is taken into account.

On Wednesday, UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told LBC "the pay of the nurses is under a pay review", but refused to concede this could mean an imminent U-turn on the issue.

"We’re going to look at what the findings of the pay review will be and I’m sure we’ll come to a reasonable decision," he told Nick Ferrari.

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Earlier this month Mr Gething said the Welsh Government had not tried to set a "ceiling" on any pay rise for NHS staff in Wales, saying he understood why staff in England were "hurt and upset" at a 1% increase proposed by the UK Government.

He said ministers in Wales were waiting to see the recommendation of the NHS Pay Review Body, which advises on the pay of NHS staff.

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Paul Summers, Unison Cymru Wales lead officer for health, said: "This is a really timely boost for worn-out, low-paid NHS and care staff.

"The Welsh Government's actions are in stark contrast to the insulting approach of the Conservative UK Government to NHS and care staff and we thank the health and social services minister for working with Unison and the other trade unions."