The passion, commitment, and specialist knowledge of our NHS staff is part of what makes our NHS so special. I recognise that staff morale is vital to maintaining staff commitment to services.
I fully support the mission to make the NHS the safest, highest quality healthcare system in the world. There are over 14,000 more doctors and over 13,000 more nurses on our wards since 2010.
How we value and retain our staff is critical, and I am very happy to say that a new deal will see a 6.5 per cent pay rise for over one million NHS workers over three years. This will benefit not just nurses, but all staff on the Agenda for Change pay scale. Ministers set aside £800 million to support the deal for 2018/19, and the Government’s long term funding settlement for the NHS, which will provide increased funding of £33.9 billion per year in real terms by 2023/24, will fund the pay rise over the remaining two years.
Following constructive negotiations between NHS employers and trade unions, a new deal will see a 6.5 per cent pay rise over three years for one million NHS nurses, midwifes and other Agenda for Change workers. Those on the lowest salaries in the NHS will see some of the largest proportionate pay rises: the lowest NHS starting salary will increase year on year from £15,404 to £18,005 in 2020/2021. Many nurses and healthcare assistants will enjoy pay increases of at least 25 per cent.
Nurses are playing an integral part of the national effort to combat coronavirus - and we owe them a great deal of gratitude for all that they do. I know the Government is committed to supporting all nurses now and in the future. Its unwavering support for frontline staff predates this unprecedented challenge. In addition to the 6.5 per cent pay rise over the three years, the starting salary for newly qualified nurses has also increased by more than 12 per cent and introduced a nurses bursary which provides up to £5,000 of additional support to nursing students.
The fight against coronavirus is a national effort, and my colleagues and I are committed to giving nurses the additional support they need throughout it.