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The Scottish Government has offered a record five percent pay rise to NHS Scotland Agenda for Change staff, which includes professionals who work with assistive technologies, such as occupational therapists (OTs), physiotherapists (PTs), and speech and language therapists (SLTs).

This pay rise is the largest single-year increase since Scotland’s devolution, according to the Scottish Government. It is set to benefit over 160,000 employees including nurses, paramedics, allied health professionals, and healthcare support staff.

Agenda for Change is the NHS pay system for all staff directly employed by NHS Health Boards with the exception of some very Senior Managers and staff within the remit of the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body, as described by the Management Steering Group.

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Depending on roles and experience, frontline workers would receive pay rises ranging from around £1,000 to £2,400. The offer – which is being considered by staff – will be backdated to 1 April 2022.

It is the second year in a row that the Scottish Government has offered a record high pay deal to NHS Agenda for Change staff. The 2021/22 settlement provided an average four percent increase.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “Our NHS Agenda for Change workforce – like nursing and midwifery staff, porter staff, and therapy staff – have long had the best pay and conditions in the UK, and with today’s offer of a 5% pay rise we’re demonstrating our commitment to ensuring that continues to be the case. It is a demonstration of how much we value our NHS staff who have worked tirelessly to keep us safe during the course of the pandemic.

“Following constructive discussions with unions and employers, we are offering the biggest single year NHS pay uplift since devolution.

“Experienced porters will receive more than £1,000 extra, while a healthcare support worker will see more than £1,200 extra. Experienced nurses will see their pay rise by more than £1,600 and an experienced advanced nurse practitioner will receive almost £2,400 more.

“In fact, as we’re building on NHS Scotland staff being the best paid in the four nations, the UK Government would need to deliver pay uplifts of between 6% to 14% to front line NHS England Agenda for Change staff to catch up with pay levels in Scotland.

“This has been another exceptionally challenging year for our health service and I am pleased that the Scottish Government is able to recognise the service and dedication of our healthcare and support staff. We will be forever grateful for their professionalism and care.”

The pay offer follows negotiations between the Scottish Government, NHS employers and unions. NHS unions will now consult their members on the offer.

In line with public sector pay policy, all Agenda for Change staff will be paid at least £10.50 per hour. This involves a rise of up to 5.36 percent for some workers.

However, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy says this offer is “disappointing” and is calling for a comprehensive retention package that includes a pay uplift recognising the skills and value of health workers. This is particularly important for physiotherapists, underlines the society, as the average rate of those leaving the NHS has surpassed all other allied health professions.

Responding to the NHS pay rise announcement, Claire Ronald, Senior Negotiating Offer at the CSP, said: “This is a disappointing pay offer and it is frustrating that it has taken so long for us to get to this point. It falls short of the pay claim by unions and is inadequate in the face of steeply rising inflation and a cost of living crisis.

“Alongside fellow health unions, we will be gauging sentiment among members through a series of both virtual and face-to-face meetings, with a vote following between now and mid-August.”

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