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Pay rise announcement for lowest paid NHS workers was a ‘factual error’, Health Minister admits

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Eluned Morgan. Picture by the Senedd. (CC BY 2.0)

Health Minister Eluned Morgan has issued an apology for a mistake that was made in a recent statement about pay rises for NHS workers in Wales.

The Welsh Government had said that starting salaries for lowest-paid workers would be rising to £10.18 per hour, delivering a salary of £19,918.

This was hailed as having ‘gone above’ the recommended living wage of £9.50 per hour and was to “recognise the dedication and commitment” of NHS workers.

But a statement released late on Friday said this was a ‘factual error’ and lowest-paid workers will actually receive £9.50 an hour with salaries remaining at £18,576.

A letter sent to all Senedd members states: “I am writing to inform you of a factual error within a Written Statement I issued on 21 July regarding NHS Pay Review Body’s 34th Report (NHSPRB) and to offer my sincere apologies for any confusion this may have caused amongst your constituents.”

‘Botched’

Lowest paid earners have been receiving the recommended living wage rate of £9.50 since April with the Welsh Government having provided top-up funding.

Rhun ap Iorwerth, Plaid Cymru’s health spokesperson, described the pay review as ‘botched’ and called on the Welsh Government to honour the rate originally announced.

He said: “The news that the Labour Welsh Government gave with one hand and took away with the other in July is a real blow to the lowest-paid workers in the NHS.

“During the pandemic, these workers have gone above and beyond the call of duty by providing exemplary care and in some instances doing so without adequate personal protective equipment.

“Ministers must urgently address the confusion surrounding this botched pay review and honour the original, publicly announced pay rise as a first step in truly valuing the NHS workforce.”

Error

The error was made in a July 21st announcement that all NHS staff were set to receiving a 3% pay rise which matched the offer made to English NHS workers by the UK Government.

In response, the RCN Wales union said it was ‘bitterly disappointed’ after having been calling for a 12.5% increase with the GMB saying it would consider future strike action.

The correction letter issued by Eluned Morgan says: “I remain committed to tackling poverty in Wales and to ensuring that the pay for those on the lowest bands remains in line with or above the independent recommendation of the Living Wage Foundation.

“I look forward to receiving the revised recommendation of the Living Wage Foundation in the autumn and will continue to review these on an annual basis in order to
safeguard the prosperity of our dedicated workforce.”

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