Healthcare news

Robin Swann asks for £50m to cover 3% pay rise for health workers

Health minister Robin Swann 
Jonathan McCambridge, PA

Health Minister Robin Swann has requested an extra £50 million from the Stormont Executive’s budget to cover a pay rise for health workers.

The minister has accepted pay review recommendations that health staff should receive a 3% pay rise, although the Treasury has said no additional money will be provided to cover the uplift.

Nurses went on strike in late 2019 and 2020 before a deal was agreed which restored pay parity with health workers in England and Wales covered by the Agenda for Change contract.

Last month it was announced that NHS staff including nurses, paramedics, consultants and dentists in England were to be offered a 3% pay rise.

Mr Swann has now written to Executive colleagues to state that he has accepted similar recommendations for Northern Ireland.

His letter to ministers said: “I have accepted the pay review recommendations in full in relation to both the Agenda for Change workforce and the medical and dental workforce, and to this end I have already started the process of seeking funding to support the uplift.

“You will be aware that the Treasury has confirmed it will not be providing any additional funding for the pay uplifts.”

Mr Swann added: “As a result, there will be no additional monies coming to Northern Ireland through the Barnett Formula for these awards.

“I am therefore seeking an additional £50m through Executive in-year monitoring to help fund the recommended uplifts for this year.”

Mr Swann told Executive colleagues that the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration had said that the pay rises should be appropriately funded “in order that there would not be a negative impact on service provision”.

The minister added: “That is an argument I will also make.”

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