HC Deb 18 December 2000 vol 360 cc45-7W
Mrs. Anne Campbell

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the reports and recommendations of the health pay review bodies. [143602]

Mr. Milburn

I am responding on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to the reports of the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration (DDRB) and the Review Body on Nursing staff, Midwives, Health Visitors and Professions Allied to Medicine (NPRB), which are published today. I understand that a similar announcement is being made by the First Minister and the Minister for Health and Community Care in Scotland. Copies of the reports are available in the Vote Office and the Library. I am grateful to the chairmen and members of both Review Bodies for their hard work.

The pay recommendations of the two Review Bodies are being accepted in full and without staging.

Nurses, midwives and health visitors are to get an across the board increase of 3.7 per cent. For the third time in three years, the award is being paid nationally in full without staging. In addition one discretionary point is being consolidated into pay ranges of grades F, G, H and I, and the flat rate elements of London Allowance, on call and standby payments are also increased by 3.7 per cent. and the flat rate elements of London Weighting are being harmonised in line with rates paid to staff above grade B.

On top of these increases, we are also introducing Cost of Living Supplements from 1 April 2001. These will be worth between £600 and £1,000 for qualified NPRB staff in London, and between £400 and £600 for equivalent staff in high-cost areas in the South of England.

The minimum starting pay of a newly qualified nurse will rise to £15,445, an increase of 30 per cent. in cash terms over the salary paid at 31 March 1997. In Inner London, starting pay for a new nurse will be £19,178, including London Weighting and the new cost of living supplement—an increase of 7 per cent. on the April 2000 figure.

The pay of an experienced ward sister or charge nurse on the maximum of grade G will rise by 5.5 per cent. to £25,420. This reflects the 3.7 per cent. award and the consolidation of one discretionary point. An equivalent nurse in inner London will earn £29,535 including also the new cost of living supplement—a 9 per cent. increase over the April 2000 figure.

On the issue of midwives' grading, the NPRB has endorsed the agreement reached between the parties and recommended that it be implemented from 1 April 2001. This means that all midwives will be able to move through to the maximum of grade F without needing to be promoted.

This year, the largest increases go to the most experienced nurses, midwives and health visitors who are in the vanguard of delivering the modern NHS—providing leadership, assuring clinical and environmental standards and getting all aspects of basic nursing care right for the patients.

The NPRB has also recommended an across the board increase of 3.7 per cent. for physiotherapists, radiographers and other professions allied to medicine (PAMs). Starting pay for basic grade PAMs with a degree after four years' training will increase on 1 April 2001 to £15,920. PAMs in the pay ranges of the Senior II, Senior I and Chief/Head/Superintendent IV, and the Chief/Head/Superintendent III grades are also to have one discretionary point consolidated in recognition of the extra responsibilities placed on them by the NHS Plan. In addition, the qualifying period for discretionary points will be reduced to one year in line with the arrangements for other NPRB staff.

These awards are fair and reflect the contribution of the key staff in the Review Body groups to the delivery of the NHS Plan and the whole modernisation agenda.

The Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body (DDRB) has recommended an overall pay increase of 3.9 per cent. for salaried doctors and dentists and general medical and dental practitioners.

To encourage the retention of general medical practitioners, the DDRB has also recommended a 7 per cent. increase in seniority allowances, worth in the region of £500 for a general medical practitioner with 25 years service. This is in addition to the 3.9 per cent. increase in intended average net remuneration.

For consultants this 3.9 per cent. increase comes on top of the £50 million package to recognise increased work load, contribution to NHS and intensity of work. Within this over £40 million will be paid out in intensity supplements to consultants this year, paid in January 2001 backdated to April 2000.

The DDRB pay rise takes the starting consultant salary to £50,810 and a consultant on the maximum of the scale with maximum distinction award to £128,935. The number of distinction awards has also been increased by 176 which will support the Government's proposals to reform the existing schemes to give more opportunity to reward consultants for their commitment and contribution to the NHS.

Doctors in training will benefit from this increase as well as from the new pay and banding system introduced in December 2000. This deal replaced the old, unfair system of half pay for extra hours with a banding system to reflect total hours worked. As well as giving doctors in training significant increases the pay deal acts as an incentive for employers to reduce excessive hours. With the addition of this pay increase a Pre-Registration House Officer (PRHO) on minimum of scale working more than 48 hours at most unsocial times (band 2A) will receive £26,903 and a SHO on the maximum of the scale, again in band 2A, will receive £44,820.