NHS staff in Wales are to receive a below inflation pay rise – but the Welsh Government says it is providing additional support to those on the lowest pay. 

The Royal College of Nursing Wales, which represents nurses, has warned its members could take industrial action.

The pay announcement, by health minister Eluned Morgan, of a basic four per cent rise for doctors follows a five per cent pay rise for teachers – that also drew criticism for being below inflation. 

Lower paid NHS staff will see an average rise of 7.5 per cent, the Welsh Government said and nurses between four and 4.5 per cent.

The UK rate of inflation, the way overall price increases are measured, stands at 9.4 per cent and the Bank of England has warned it could go past 11 per cent this year. 

In response trade unions across many sectors have called for wages to increase – as increases below the rate of inflation are in effect pay cuts as they do not keep up with rising prices. 

The NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB) has recommended a £1,400 pay rise for staff, including nurses, cleaners, porters, healthcare support workers and healthcare professionals, on most pay grades. 

The Welsh Government will implement this recommendation on top of the Real Living Wage top-up previously announced, which came into effect in April. 

It says for the lowest paid staff this will on average equate to a 7.5 per cent pay rise on pay grades. 

The Welsh Labour government’s position is that it cannot go substantially further than the recommendations made by the pay review bodies without extra money being provided by the Conservative government in Westminster. 

Welsh health minister Eluned Morgan said: “I hope this pay award goes some way to recognise their (NHS staff) hard work but without additional funding from the UK Government, there are inevitably limits to how far we can go in Wales. We continue to press them to pass on the full funding necessary for fair pay rises for public sector workers. 

“We are all facing a cost-of-living crisis. We have structured this pay award so the lowest paid staff in the NHS would see the biggest uplift in their pay, equivalent to a 10.8% pay rise, making the NHS in Wales the highest-paying UK nation for staff in the lowest pay bands.” 

Helen Whyley, of the Royal College of Nursing Wales, told BBC Wales: "Members are outraged and don't feel valued". She described the award as "pitiful".

What is the Welsh Government offering NHS staff on pay? 

The starting salary for the lowest paid roles in band 1 and the bottom of band 2 in NHS Wales will now be £20,758, this equates to a pay rise of 10.8 per cent this financial year for this band and would make Wales the highest paying UK nation for the lowest pay bands in the NHS. 

For staff at the top of band 6 and in band 7, the £1,400 payment will be enhanced to be equivalent to a four per cent pay rise. 

Following a series of meetings with trade unions and representative bodies this week, the Welsh Government has committed to continue to explore a range of other issues raised as part of those discussions. 


Morgan has also agreed the recommendations of the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body (DDRB) to increase pay by 4.5 per cent for junior doctors, consultants, GPs and dentists employed directly by the health boards. 

Specialty and specialist doctors on the 2021 contract will receive a one-off £1,400 payment in recognition of the unprecedented cost-of-living crisis. Specialty doctors on the 2008 contract will receive a 4.5 per cent pay increase, but those on the top pay grade in the 2008 contract will receive a one-off payment equivalent to 4.5 per cent. 

The recommended 4.5 per cent pay uplift in pay for contracted GPs and dentists is subject to overall contract changes by the General Medical and General Dental Services and negotiations are ongoing. 

The Health Minister has also said she has made it clear that staff working within general practice, dental teams and community pharmacies across Wales should receive a “fair, proportionate and equitable pay uplift”. 

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