Eluned Morgan, Minister for Health and Social Services.
I am responding today to the outcomes of the 34th NHS Pay review body (NHSPRB) and 49th Doctors and Dentists Review Body (DDRB). I am grateful to the Chair and members of the NHSPRB and DDRB for their report, and I welcome their robust independent recommendations and observations. I know too that their advice is greatly valued by NHS management, trade unions and staff representatives alike.
I am pleased to announce today that I have been able to accept the recommendations of the both the NHS PRB and DDRB in full.
This includes a 3% increase for staff on Agenda for Change terms and conditions which includes employed nurses, cleaners, porters and health care support workers.
An increase of 3% will also apply to all groups of employed doctors and dentists; this includes consultants, doctors in training, pre 2021 specialty and associate specialist (SAS) doctor contracts, salaried GPs and dentists.
The recommended 3% uplift in pay for contracted GPs and dentists is subject to overall contract changes for General Medical and General Dental Services. My officials will be negotiating with the representative bodies to deliver changes in line with the Government’s agenda to improve access to services and a clear emphasis on a preventative health agenda.
After a tremendously difficult 16 months for our incredibly hard working staff, this pay rise recognises their dedication and commitment and their absolutely vital contribution to our response throughout the course of this pandemic, whilst also taking into account affordability and the prioritising of patient care.
This payment is the annual pay uplift for NHS staff for 2021/22 and is in addition to the NHS and Social Care bonus payment which was announced by the previous Minister for Health and Social Services in March 2021. That one off payment of £735 was to acknowledge the phenomenal commitment and compassionate care provided by our health and social care workforce to the people of Wales when we have been at our most vulnerable.
For our lowest paid staff, this means we have gone above the living wage recommendation of £9.50 an hour which we implemented from April 2021, with our starting salary being £19,918 pa (£10.18 per hour). This demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that NHS Wales remains a Living Wage employer.
As yet the UK Treasury has provided no information if additional funding will be made available to help cover the cost of any recommended uplift above the 1% cap previously announced, but we will be pressing them to give us additional funding to cover this.
The delivery of excellent care is our top priority, and this is why we are continuing to make positive progress in supporting the NHS workforce to manage and boost their health and wellbeing, recognising that fair pay is an important factor in both. That is why I am also announcing today that a prototype Workforce Wellbeing Conversation Framework Tool has been developed in social partnership and will be launched later this month for use across health and social care settings in Wales.
I truly value and admire the hard work and dedication of our health and social care and I recognise the acute demands of the past 16 months. As we move toward a busy recovery period, balanced alongside the very real need for our workforce to take proper time to rest and recuperate, it is incredibly important that we are pro-actively talking openly and honestly with each other about our own and each other’s’ individual wellbeing needs.
This framework tool will encourage and help managers and staff to navigate these conversations and offer an opportunity to provide sign-posting to additional support available where appropriate.
This tool is intended to be the first of its kind so feedback from those who use the tool will inform future developments and ensure that we are providing something useful and practical whilst also allowing Welsh Government and employers to understand how many conversations are taking place.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns I would be happy to do so.