NHS Pay & Conditions

2015 NHS PAY

Following the pay offer for 2015/16 made by Jeremy Hunt on 27 January for NHS staff in England, Unite and the other unions held consultative ballots on the offer. The Unite ballot result was announced on 2 March and based on the valid votes cast, 50.07% voted to reject the offer and 49.82% voted to accept the offer. 

All other unions, with the exception of the FCS, voted to accept the pay offer. The health sector NISC teleconferenced on 6 March to consider Unite's ballot outcome. It was concluded that there was an insufficient mandate to continue with industrial action but Unite would vote against the pay offer at the NHS staff council meeting on 9 March. 

The pay offer was put to the staff side unions at the NHS staff council meeting and accepted. Unite was the only union which voted against the offer. Therefore, the pay offer made by Jeremy Hunt will be implemented on 1st April 2015. 

There will be continuing national negotiations as part of the pay offer which will include changes to the current redundancy agreement and issues related to ambulance staff terms and conditions.
The staff council was advised that the NHS pay review body will be publishing its recommendations for 2015/16 NHS pay in Scotland by 16th March. 
No progress has been made on NHS pay talks in Northern Ireland.


Industrial Action planned for Thursday 29th January 2015 was suspended following a new offer by the Secretary of State fot Health on 27th January 2015 which Trades Unions agreed to take away to consult their membership.  Details of that offer can be found at this link -http://www.nhsemployers.org/news/2015/01/nhs-industrial-action-suspended
Key points of this offer were:
* Abolition of the bottom point of AfC and increasing pay point 2 to £15,100. T
* 1% consolidated pay rise for all staff up to point 42 (Top of Band 8B) from April 2015.
* A further consolidated pay rise of an additional £200 for staff on pay points 3-8. 
* A one year increment freeze in 2015/16 for staff on pay point 34 (Top of Band 7) and above.
* Urgent talks to take place with a view to the proposed redundancy changes being implemented from 1 April 2015, including a floor for calculation of redundancy payments of £23,000 and a ceiling for calculation of £80,000 with an end to employer top up for early retirement on grounds of redundancy.

For colleagues on Band 8C and above it would appear they are 1. subject to one year increment pay freeze and 2. If already at top of scale may loose the non consolidated 1% payment imposed in 2014/15.

Colleagues in Scotland have already been paid 1% across all spine points as recommended by the NHS pay review body.


The annual process for determining NHS pay is for the Department of Health, Staff side and NHS employers to submit evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body.  The Pay Review Body considers all the evidence and information available and makes its recommendation in its reports which are available from the Office of Manpower Economics website .

2013/2014 NHS PAY
The NHS Pay Review Body from England and Wales determined that a 1% increase across all grades and HCAS allowances was affordable and should be paid with effect from 1st April 2013.
Full details are in the NHS Pay Review Body 27th Report. 
The revised pay scales are detailed in document  AfC 1-2013
AfC Terms and Conditions changes(below) are in document AfC 2-2013

MARCH 2013
The NHS Staff Council has agreed to NHS Employer’s proposed changes to the Agenda for Change (AfC) agreement.  This means that the new arrangements outlined below will come into effect from 31 March 2013.  Key change are:

  • Progression through all incremental pay points in all pay bands to be conditional, on individuals demonstrating that they meet locally agreed performance requirements in line with a proposed new Annex addition to the handbook,
  • For staff in bands 8C, 8D and 9, pay progression into the last two points in a band will become annually earned and only retained where the appropriate local level of performance is reached in a given year,
  • The removal of accelerated pay progression associated with preceptorship for staff joining pay band 5 as new entrants,
  • The scope to put in place alternative, non-AfC, pay arrangements for band 8C and above
  • A new Annex 5 giving guidance on the principles to be followed regarding workforce re-profiling, including the need to follow the processes set out in the NHS Job Evaluation Handbook and the application of local organisational change policies to protect staff in cases of staff redeployment into lower grade posts,
  • Pay during sickness absence will be paid at basic salary level - not including any allowance or payments linked to working patterns or additional work commitments. This change will not apply to staff who are paid on spine points 1 - 8 of AfC or to those whose absence is due to work-related injury or disease.
Further information can be found using the following link:
  • FAQ's – Pay progression setting out principles & criteria for local pay progression schemes
The NHS Staff Council also agreed introduction of new provisions in relation to injury benefit.  These provisions will cover eligible employees who are on authorised sickness absence or phased return to work, with reduced pay or no pay, due to a work-related injury or disease and will be incorporated into the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook to come into effect from 31 March 2013.
Significant amendments are also being made to the NHS Injury Benefit Scheme regulations to accompany the introduction of these new arrangements. See the injury benefit web pages
On 5th December 2012 The Chancellor announced in the House of Commons that proposals to introduce regional NHS pay would NOT go ahead.

APRIL 2012
The Department of Health submitted evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body to consider "Market Facing Pay" - the introduction of regional payscales.  Here is the full document Market Facing Pay.

2012/2013 NHS PAY
In year two of the government imposed pay freeze provision was again made for an increase of £250pa for those earning upto £21,000pa and no increase for other staff.
Full details are in the NHS Pay Review Body 26th Report. 
Revised payscales are here Pay_Circular_AfC_2-2012

2011/2012 NHS PAY
The Government imposed a two year pay freeze with an increase of £250pa for those earning upto £21,000pa and no increase for other staff.
Full details are in the NHS Pay Review Body 25th Report
Revised payscales are here Pay Circular AfC 2-2011

2010/11 NHS PAY
Pay circular AfC 2-2010 announces a flat rate increase of £420pa for spine points 1 to 12 and 2.25% on other scales and allowances. The centre spine point in Band 5 has been deleted and the numbering of spine points has been adjusted accordingly.
Full details are in the NHS Pay Review Body 24th Report.

2009/10 NHS PAY
Pay circular (AfC) 1/2009 announced an increase of 2.4% on all pay and allowances with effect from 1st April 2009. There has also been some minor restructuring of Band5 / Band 6 spine points. Full details are in the NHS Pay Review Body 23rd Report.

2008/09 NHS PAY
Pay Circular (AforC) 3/2008 implements a 2.75% pay rise to the national scales from 1st April 08. Whilst continuing to talk about a multi year pay settlement no details of pay rates beyond 1st April 09 are detailed. Colleagues in pay Bands 5 to 8A inclusive should also see Section 5 and Annex W Section 5 regarding GOC registration fees.

2008/09 PAY AWARD BACKGROUND (07April08)

The NHS Pay Review Body has recommended a 2.75% rise for 2008/09.

A proposal for a three year pay deal has been agreed between NHS Employers, the two largest NHS trades unions UNISON & RCN and Department of Health. This package is a culmative increase of 7.58% over the three year period. This proposal comprises of:

2.75% for 2008/09

2.40% for 2009/10

2.25% for 2010/11

No other trade unions have signed up to this proposal. There is concern that in the present economic climate years 2 and 3 proposal may not meet employees needs.

UNITE recommended rejection of the multi year pay offer.  A postal ballot of members was held.  The government imposed 2.75% increase.


For the 2007-08 year the NHS Pay Review body recommended a pay increase of 2.50%.

The full increase was paid in Scotland from 1st April 2007. However in other parts of the UK the government staged payment with 1.50% from 1st April 2007 and a further 1.00% from 1st November 2007. See AfC Handbook for details of pay scales.

Historically national payscales for hospital optometrists were traditionally centrally agreed through the National Whitley Council mechanism. For a short period of time some NHS Trusts may have had local pay arrangements for some staff members. The National Whitley Council scales were updated for the last time on 1st April 2005. With effect from 1st October 2004 a new pay sytsem was implemented across the UK under the Agenda for Change system.

The previous national payscales can be downloaded from this page.

For further information see Agenda for Change.

Further information relating to employment issues is available from NHS Employers Organisation