An NHS pay deal which offers an average increase of 4% to NHS staff in Scotland will be immediately implemented after the majority of NHS unions voted to accept it.

The increase covers 16 months, and has been backdated to 1 December 2020 in recognition of an exceptional year of significant pressure for staff. This will be paid as well as the £500 thank you payment for health and social care workers.

The government points out that this is the most generous increase anywhere in the UK, benefiting around 154,000 employees covered by the ‘Agenda for Change’ NHS pay and grading system – including nurses, paramedics and allied health professionals, as well as domestic staff, porters and healthcare support staff plus other front line health workers. Staff should expect to receive the payments, including the backdated uplift, this summer.

Staff on pay bands 1 to 7, which accounts for almost 95% of Agenda for Change staff, will receive at least a 4% pay rise compared to 2020/21. This means that those employees on the lowest Agenda for Change pay point will get a 5.4% increase and those on the highest pay points will receive uplifts of £800.

The UK Government’s submission to the NHS Pay Review body (PRB) provided for a £250 uplift for staff earning less than £24,000 and 1% for all other NHS Agenda for Change staff.  Assuming the Department of Health in England maintains its current position, staff in Scotland will be considerably better off in 2021-22.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I am delighted that unions representing a majority of NHS staff have voted to accept our offer of a pay rise of 4% on average. We all rely on the hard work and dedication of NHS Scotland, and never more so than during this pandemic. This pay rise, the biggest pay uplift for NHS staff since devolution recognises the unwavering commitment of NHS Scotland staff.

“If the Department of Health sticks with the offer it has proposed, staff in Scotland will be considerably better off in 2021-22 than their counterparts in England.

“This has been an exceptionally challenging year for our health service and I am delighted that the Scottish Government has been able to recognise the service and dedication of our healthcare staff. On behalf of us all, thank you for all you have done and for all you continue to do.”