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The Scottish Government has revealed its “best and final” offer to NHS Agenda for Change (AfC) workers following pay negotiations with trade unions and employers.

The record high pay offer represents an average pay uplift of 7.5 percent for NHS Agenda for Change staff in Scotland – the highest offer in the UK.

This pay increase will see NHS Scotland staff receive pay rises ranging from £2,205 to £2,751. For the lowest paid, this represents an uplift of 11.3 percent, the Scottish Government highlights.

In a final offer made to trade unions, the new deal is worth an additional £515 million in 2022-23 and now includes a package of measures to promote staff and patient safety, support long-term workforce sustainability, and to recognise the breadth of skills and experience of NHS Scotland staff.

Agenda for Change is the NHS pay system for all staff directly employed by NHS Health Boards except for some very senior managers and staff within the remit of the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body. In NHS Scotland, approximately 150,000 NHS Staff are on these terms and conditions of service.

The Scottish Government’s Agenda for Change pay offer for 2022-23 is set to benefit more than 160,000 employees including nurses, paramedics, allied health professionals (AHPs) like occupational therapists and physiotherapists, and healthcare support staff.

A detailed breakdown of what the pay increase offer means for the different bands across NHS Scotland can be found here.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “We have engaged tirelessly with trade union representatives over recent weeks, leaving no stone unturned to reach an offer which responds to the key concerns of staff across the service.

“This best and final pay offer of over half a billion pounds underlines our commitment to supporting our fantastic NHS staff. A newly qualified nurse would see a pay rise of 8.7%, and experienced nurses and would get uplifts of between £2,450 and £2,751.

“We are making this offer at a time of extraordinary financial challenges to the Scottish Government.

“We have made the best offer possible to get money into the pockets of hard working staff and to avoid industrial action, in what is already going to be an incredibly challenging winter. If the offer is agreed this pay uplift will also be backdated to April.

“Finally, I would urge the UK Government to get back to the negotiating table with the unions. This settlement has been shaped by the unions’ constructive approach and I hope it is backed by their members.”

The latest pay offer follows previous tensions with NHS Scotland pay increases made by the government, which were rejected and initiated strike action.

In October 2022, all NHS workers in Scotland were offered a flat-rate £2,205 pay rise – an average uplift of seven percent – by the Scottish Government.

However, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) reacted angrily to this initial offer, stating that the pay increase ran well below inflation at 10 percent.

It added that the offer only equated to a 4.6 percent increase for those at the top of band 7 and less for those in bands 8 and 9. The society cautioned that this pay offer for highly experienced clinicians was lower than the one already rejected by NHS staff in Scotland. The previous offer equated to a five percent uplift for workers in those bands.

This then resulted in CSP members voting in favour of strike action in their first-ever ballot on pay.

Now, the society is urging members to accept the new 7.5 percent pay increase offer, citing that the Scottish Government has taken note of the industrial strike action.

CSP says the newly negotiated money will be largely distributed between bands 5 and 7 after a previous offer also boosted pay for the lowest paid.

Claire Ronald, CSP Senior Negotiating Officer for Scotland, commented: “We are pleased that the government has listened to our concerns about its previous offer and returned to the table with an increase that is funded by new money and also covers more staff, albeit not all.

“It is an encouraging forward step and we will now put it to our pay sub-committee of members to get their decision on next steps.”

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