Nurse and health visitor pay has reduced by 8% in real terms over the last eight years, according to an analysis of new figures from NHS Digital.
The average salary of a nurse or health visitor at the end of August 2010 was £29,599, increasing by 7% to £31,683 by the end of March 2018.
But the consumer price index – the index used to measure inflation – has increased by 16.9% in the same period of time, leaving average health visitor and community nurses just under £3,000 worse off over the eight years from August 2010.
Midwives were found to be even worse off, with earnings down by more than £4,000 when adjusted for inflation, down by 11.2% in real terms. The average salary of a midwife at the end of March 2018 was £31,671, up from £30,527 in August 2010 but still below the increase in inflation.
The analysis of the figures by union GMB comes weeks after a new pay deal was agreed with NHS nurses in England, with rises of between 6.5% and 22%, dependent on the nurse’s current position within a given pay band.
GMB, the only union to vote against the pay deal, say that these figures show the new deal is ‘not good enough’, as many nurses will be receiving pay rises that are still below some projected increases in inflation.
Rachel Harrison, national office for the union, said: ‘Inadequate pay is driving experienced professionals out of the NHS, contributing to worsening services for patients.
‘NHS staff have endured nearly ten years of wage freezes and caps. Does Jeremy Hunt think he can buy them off with a further three years real terms pay cuts?’