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Health staff pay rise cannot be implemented without Stormont budget – Swann

The Health Minister said he has accepted the recommendations made by pay review bodies but is currently unable to move forward with them.

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An independent review body has recommended that health service staff should be awarded a pay increase of £1,400 for 2022-23 (PA)

An independent review body has recommended that health service staff should be awarded a pay increase of £1,400 for 2022-23 (PA)

An independent review body has recommended that health service staff should be awarded a pay increase of £1,400 for 2022-23 (PA)

Pay increases recommended for health workers in Northern Ireland cannot be implemented without an agreed Stormont budget, Robin Swann has said.

The Health Minister said he has accepted the recommendations made by pay review bodies but is unable to move forward with them.

On Tuesday, an independent review body recommended that health service staff should be awarded a pay increase of £1,400 for 2022-23.

There is a separate recommendation of a 4.5% increase for doctors and dentists.

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Health Minister Robin Swann said he is ‘unable to announce the immediate implementation of these pay awards’ (PA)

Health Minister Robin Swann said he is ‘unable to announce the immediate implementation of these pay awards’ (PA)

PA

Health Minister Robin Swann said he is ‘unable to announce the immediate implementation of these pay awards’ (PA)

The DUP has blocked the formation of a powersharing Executive as part of its protest against Brexit’s Northern Ireland Protocol.

A planned multi-year budget which would have prioritised spending in health has not been progressed due to the collapse of the powersharing institutions.

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Ministers remain in position in caretaker roles but are operating with limited powers.

Responding to the recommendations of pay awards by the NHS Pay Review Body and Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration, Mr Swann said: “I have considered the recommendations made by both bodies and would be content to recommend acceptance of these awards.

“In relation to the Agenda for Change Pay Award, this would maintain the previous commitments made by the Executive to maintain pay parity with NHS pay in England.

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Stormont Finance Minister Conor Murphy wrote to the Chancellor this week calling for an increase in devolved budgets (David Young/PA)

Stormont Finance Minister Conor Murphy wrote to the Chancellor this week calling for an increase in devolved budgets (David Young/PA)

PA

Stormont Finance Minister Conor Murphy wrote to the Chancellor this week calling for an increase in devolved budgets (David Young/PA)

“However unlike my colleagues in other parts of the United Kingdom, I am unable to announce the immediate implementation of these pay awards locally as Northern Ireland still does not have an agreed Executive budget for 2022/23.

“Equally I welcome and support the recent letter from the three devolved finance ministers asking the Chancellor to increase budgets to address pay and other pressures, including in the health service.”

Earlier this week, Stormont Finance Minister Conor Murphy joined with his counterparts in Wales and Scotland to call on Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi to develop a “fair approach” to public sector pay and ask for an increase in devolved budgets to deal with emerging pressures, including in the health service.


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