I believe that the passion, commitment, and specialist knowledge of our NHS staff is part of what makes our NHS so special. I recognise that staff morale is vital to maintaining staff commitment to services. I fully support the Government's mission to make the NHS the safest, highest quality healthcare system in the world. There are over 14,000 more doctors and over 13,000 more nurses on our wards since 2010.
I am sorry that there has been confusion between NHS Employers and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). It is my understanding that the RCN told its members they would all receive a three per cent uplift during summer 2018. I entirely understand your frustration at this miscommunication, but the agreement between NHS Employers and the RCN never promised a three per cent rise in the first year.
Pay increases are funded from departmental budgets. It was important to consider current and future affordability across the whole public sector when agreeing final awards, alongside the advice of the Pay Review Bodies. This is to ensure that resources are available to invest in public service improvement, and that awards are sustainable without an increasing burden of debt being passed onto future generations.
Concerning pay awards in recent years, you may be aware that the NHS is one of few public sector workforces that receive annual incremental pay progression. It is my understanding that the terms of the pay deal were set out in the framework agreement agreed by most healthcare unions and this has not changed. This means there will be an annual pay increase in April and an incremental increase on the incremental date.