My intervention on the NHS Strikes Debate

NHS Strikes – Volume 727: debated on Monday 6 February 2023


Will Quince

I remember another Scottish National party Member making a similar comment in a previous urgent question, crowing about how Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, was directly negotiating with the unions and that they had paused their industrial action, but only a handful of weeks later that industrial action was renewed. Pay is of course a devolved matter for Scotland and for Wales.

I will not make unfunded promises or pledges from this Dispatch Box. I want to have an honest and open dialogue with the unions about what is affordable for the NHS, where we recognise and reward NHS staff—who do the most incredible job day in, day out—with one eye to recruitment and retention, but it also has to be fair to taxpayers; and that is the spirit in which I approach this matter.



John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con) Can senior managers of NHS England and its various trusts make more use of pay gradings, job evaluations, promotions and increments, using pay flexibilities so that staff who are doing a good job feel valued and can be paid more?



Will Quince:

That certainly is an option. My right hon. Friend talks about NHS managers. Understandably, the Opposition focus on nurses and paramedics, but let us not forget exactly who we are talking about: the entire Agenda for Change workforce, which is 1.245 million people. That is exactly why every 1% equates to £700 million. My right hon. Friend is right that pay is a factor, but it is not the only factor, which is why we also focus on working conditions and environment.


  1. John b arton
    February 7, 2023

    Why is John Redwood not in government? He could, I’m sure, sort out the NHS, and in combination with JRM get the civil service into doing their job properly.

  2. Bryan Harris
    February 7, 2023

    That’s exactly what I would have said… Well done on at least getting those points out

  3. Elli Ron
    February 7, 2023

    How about sacking all the equalities staff, at least those with a salary over 30K

  4. The Prangwizard
    February 7, 2023

    Pay is a devolved matter. Why are the Scottish members in the HoC in particular allowed to enter debates on English only matters ( we ask again). We know they like to make life difficult for England.

    Shall we take that England will be ignored and insulted for ever, while Scotland is continually appeased to our disadvantage?

    1. a-tracy
      February 7, 2023

      Yes, we’ve got Gove to thank for that ignoring and insulting and overturning evel.

    2. JoolsB
      February 8, 2023

      Not only are they allowed to vote and meddle on English only matters in the house but there are actually SNP MPs sitting on (English only) select committees at an extra £16-17k a year, health being one of them. The Tory party, we expect no better from Labour, deserve our contempt for the rotten deal they have dealt England both constitutionally and financially.

  5. JoolsB
    February 7, 2023

    “crowing about how Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, was directly negotiating with the unions and that they had paused their industrial action“
    The SNP were also crowing about this in PMQs a few weeks ago and Sunak’s pathetic response was that the Scots Government could only afford it thanks to an extra 1.5 billion (English taxes) bunged to them by the UK Government, something he has denied the NHS England nurses.
    And why do NHS Admin need the same pay rise as front line staff? A staggering 47% of NHS employees are now non medical and quite often many of them on higher salaries than the front line workers. Have they asked for a rise? Do they deserve one, especially those still working from their settees. Yet another duplicitous answer from an out of his depth Tory Minister. Hard working overworked and underpaid front line staff are not only indispensable, they deserve a pay rise. Admin are not. In fact it wouldn’t hurt if some of them walked out never to return.
    The 7 million waiting list is growing every minute that Barclay and Sunak think they are being clever by playing hardball. Oh well least it won’t affect them and probably most MPs who can afford to go private. If the NHS isn’t good enough for Sunak to use, the very person in charge of it then he isn’t fit to be PM but then NHS aside, he is unfit to be PM anyway.

  6. a-tracy
    February 7, 2023

    John, if a fresh nursing graduate at 21/22 years of age starts on £27,055 they have two years until eligible for pay progression to £29,180 but I take it in two years time that intermediate step point has also gone up each year and that £29,180 is the rate today for someone that graduated two years ago, then in another 2 years they are on whatever the inflated rate is from £32,934.

    So how does the RCN make out they’re not getting high % progression each year and that there has been very little change in overage basic pay after accounting for inflation?

    In 2001 Pay band E which i assume has been renamed 5 was £18,310 to £22865. What should it be by inflation over those 20 years?

    1. hefner
      February 8, 2023

      £100 in 2001 is £161.53 in 2022 (
      So £18,310 becomes £30,308 and £22,865 becomes £37,848, so draw the conclusion yourself …

      1. a-tracy
        February 9, 2023

        Thats what they got in this tax year 2022-23 hefner they had a £1400 payment in October 2022 that was backdated to April (inflation didn’t spike until later in the tax year!)

        1. a-tracy
          February 9, 2023

          This means that 18,310 pounds in 2001 are equivalent to 29,575.8 pounds in 2022.
          I may have used the wrong starting point for grade E (that is the fifth grade) the 5th grade start point was £16510 in 2001.
          The Guardian
 › NHSstaff › table
          Nurses’ pay scales ; Grade, April 2001 range (£), April 2002 range (£) ;
          Nurses’ pay scales
          Including discretionary points
          Grade April 2001 range (£) April 2002 range (£)
          A (age 18+) 9,335 to 11,420 9,735 to 12,220
          B 11,055 to 12,585 11,455 to 13,485
          C 12,585 to 15,445 13,040 to 16,005
          D 15,445 to 17,055 16,005 to 17,670
          E 16,510 to 19,935 17,105 to 20,655
          F 18,310 to 22,865 18,970 to 23,690
          F (dp) 23,285 to 23,710 24,125 to 24,565
          G 21,605 to 25,420 22,385 to 26,340
          G (dp) 25,855 to 26,290 26,790 to 27,245
          H 24,135 to 28,045 25,005 to 29,065
          H (dp) 28,495 to 28,945 29,525 to 29,990
          H “modern matron” 25,005 to 29,990
          I 26,725 to 30,720 27,695 to 31,830
          I (dp) 31,170 to 31,620 32,295 to 32,760
          I “modern matron” 27,695 to 32,760
          Consultants 29,450 to 45,050 33,940 to 46,675
          Source: Department of Health

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