Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has urged the independent pay review bodies not to give healthcare workers a 1% pay rise.
NHS Employers has already advised the DDRB and PRB that a 1% pay increase, which would cost £500 million, would be unaffordable.
And in Hunt’s evidence to the Review Body on Doctors and Dentists’ remuneration, he said the current system is “antiquated and unfair”.
The evidence document put forward by the Department of Health states: “Putting patients at the heart of everything the NHS does means ensuring services are available seven days a week and that staff are rewarded for what they do for patients, not time served.”
But Dr Peter Carter, the Royal College of Nursing chief executive said Hunt’s comments are “demoralising”.
He said: “It is completely unfair to say a pay increase of just 1%, following years of real-terms pay cuts, will prevent employers from recruiting more nurses and put patient safety at risk.
“To demand further changes to the national pay framework before a pay increase can even be considered is unhelpful, particularly when changes linking performance and pay have only recently been agreed and employers have barely started to implement them. Another year of pay freezes for frontline staff sends the message that their contribution is not valued while putting staff under even more pressure, which is bad for patient care.”
And trade union Unite said the Department of Health’s submission to the review body was the latest in the series of “strange bullying tactics”. Rachael Maskell, head of health at the union said Hunt is “trying to emotionally blackmail the staff to sacrifice their pay”.
The Review Body on Doctors and Dentists’ remuneration will make a recommendation to the government, which takes final decisions on salaries, next year.