Responding to the 3% pay rise for NHS Agenda for Change staff, Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research and REAL Centre at the Health Foundation, said: 
‘The pandemic has placed enormous demands on NHS staff who have worked relentlessly over the last 18 months to care for patients and keep services running. Against this backdrop, today’s NHS pay announcement is hugely significant.

‘This is effectively a ‘treading water’ pay offer. Compared to the wider economy, where average earnings have increased by between 3.2% and 4.4%, the 3% pay uplift is very much the tail end of the pack.

‘Pay is a major factor in influencing retention and recruitment of staff. Yet, over the last decade since 2010/11, NHS pay has risen on average by just 1.6% a year. This is below inflation and below earnings growth across the wider economy.

‘NHS staffing shortages were a problem before the pandemic, and during the pandemic; they are likely to remain a major challenge going forward. The government urgently needs to produce a comprehensive workforce strategy, for both the NHS and social care. Central to this strategy should be a pay system that rewards staff and encourages their long-term commitment to both prevent NHS staff from leaving and encouraging highly skilled new people to join.’

Media contact

Creina Lilburne
07941 156 827

Further reading


How has NHS staff pay changed over the past decade?


Over the past 10 years, there has been very little change in overall average basic pay for NHS...

REAL Centre


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December 2020

The current shortfall of nurses represents a major long-term and growing problem for the NHS. This...

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