NHS pay rise conditional on boost in productivity, Jeremy Hunt suggests

Health Secretary says 3 per cent pay rise could cost £1bn 

Chloe Farand
Monday 30 October 2017 02:59 GMT
Health Minister Jeremy Hunt speaking on the Andrew Marr Show yesterday
Health Minister Jeremy Hunt speaking on the Andrew Marr Show yesterday (Reuters)

Philip Hammond will only fund a pay rise for doctors and nurses if the NHS becomes more productive, Jeremy Hunt has suggested.

The Health Secretary hinted the Chancellor had agreed to discuss a pay rise in parallel with looking at “the ways that we could improve productivity”.

Mr Hunt’s comments came after he announced earlier this month that the one per cent cap on NHS pay would be scrapped. At the time, he did not say whether staff will get a pay rise to match inflation which hit a five year high of three per cent.

Asked by the BBC’s Andrew Marr how much it would cost to give NHS staff a 3 per cent pay rise, he suggested a figure of about £1bn – “a serious amount of extra money”.

He said: “The Chancellor has said that if we can have a negotiation and look at some of the ways that we could improve productivity at the same time then he is willing to have a discussion with me about whether extra resources can be found.”

He added: “What we have to do as a Government is to make sure that the NHS gets the resources it needs and that has been very difficult because of the financial situation.”

But Mr Hunt refused to say whether the money used to increase staff pay would lead to cuts elsewhere in the NHS.

He said the value of staff pay rise would be decided by an independent pay review body and that “it would be wrong” for him to give his view before the process ends.

Mr Hammond is due to deliver his Autumn Budget on November 22 and Mr Hunt said he will “be making a very robust case for the NHS to get the resources it needs”.

Mr Hunt said he understood the “frustration” of NHS staff which have had “pay restraints for many many years” and wanted ”to see some recognition of the very hard work that they are doing”.

In the run-up to the snap election in June, Theresa May came under fire after she told nurses there is “no magic money tree” to increase their pay as public sector staff were being squeezed by rising living costs.

At the time, the Prime Minister said she recognised the job done by NHS staff but that “hard choices” had to be made across the public sector.

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