NHS staff will be looking at their Scottish colleagues with envy, Plaid Cymru has claimed, after Wales announced a pay rise that fell short of the wage increase offered by Nicola Sturgeon's government.

The health minister in Wales Eluned Morgan has agreed a three per cent pay rise for all NHS staff, which she said was in line with the recommendations of the pay review bodies.

Ms Morgan said the salary change "recognises the dedication and commitment of hardworking NHS staff and the enormous contribution they have made".

But the offer has left health workers "extremely disappointed," according to the British Medical Association in Wales (BMA Cymru).

A three per cent pay rise has also been agreed for NHS staff in England, while the Scottish Government announced in May it had sealed a four per cent wage increase for most health service workers there.

Plaid's deputy leader Sian Gwenllian said there was "a real risk" Welsh NHS staff would look at the bigger Scottish pay rise "with a feeling of being let down by the Welsh Government".

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“Our health service is already under pressure, under resourced and under staffed, and the least we can do is ensure our workers do not remain under-paid," Ms Gwenllian said.

"While we acknowledge the restraints from Tory austerity, the Welsh Government should continue to push Westminster to respect our front line health and care staff with fair pay.”

Questions remain, too, over how the pay rise will be funded in Wales. Here, the  Government said the Treasury had not indicated whether any additional funding would be made available to cover the uplift from the previous pay offer of one per cent.

In the meantime, Welsh budgets would be "prioritised" to grant NHS staff the three per cent rate, the Welsh Government said. The new pay rate will be backdated to April 2021.

Following Morgan's announcement, BMA Cymru said it was disappointed the minister had not chosen to go beyond the three per cent rise recommended by the pay review body.

NHS staff had gone through "the most challenging times in their careers" during the pandemic and "went above and beyond to care for patients, putting themselves and their families’ lives at risk in the process," the association said in a statement.

BMA Cymru will now consult with its members on the pay rise proposal, but warned that government needed to step up other support – as well as wages – to protect health workers.

"As we begin to tackle the longest waiting lists on record, the Welsh Government and NHS employers must step up their efforts to support NHS staff; working with us to provide properly funded primary care services, improved recruitment and retention, rest facilities and wellbeing services to ensure we can deliver the vital care needed in Wales," the association said.

“If we fail to look after this invaluable workforce, we will fail to continue to provide the high standards of care to patients that we all want to deliver.”

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds joined calls for a bigger health service pay rise, urging the government to "dig deeper and do better by our NHS staff".

"The cost of living is set to go up by the same amount this year, meaning the government's offer won't even be felt by many NHS workers," Dodds said.

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