Pay rise for NHS workers

Increase of 4% to be implemented.  

An NHS pay deal which offers an average increase of 4% will be immediately implemented after the majority of NHS unions voted to accept the biggest pay uplift since devolution. The increase covers 16 months, having been backdated to 1 December 2020 in recognition of an exceptional year of significant pressure for staff. This comes on top of the £500 thank you payment for health and social care workers.

Benefiting around 154,000 employees covered by the ‘Agenda for Change’ NHS pay and grading system – including nurses, paramedics and allied health professionals, as well as domestic staff, porters and healthcare support staff plus other front line health workers - this is the most generous increase anywhere in the UK. Staff should expect to receive payments, including the backdated uplift, this summer.

Staff on pay bands 1 to 7, almost 95% of Agenda for Change staff, will receive at least a 4% pay rise compared to 2020/21. This means those on the lowest Agenda for Change pay point will get a 5.4% increase and those on the highest pay points will receive uplifts of £800.

The UK Government’s submission to the NHS Pay Review body (PRB) provided for a £250 uplift for staff earning less than £24,000 and 1% for all other NHS Agenda for Change staff.  Assuming the Department of Health in England maintains its current position, staff in Scotland will be considerably better off in 2021-22.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“I am delighted that unions representing a majority of NHS staff have voted to accept our offer of a pay rise of 4% on average. We all rely on the hard work and dedication of NHS Scotland, and never more so than during this pandemic. This pay rise, the biggest pay uplift for NHS staff since devolution recognises the unwavering commitment of NHS Scotland staff.

“If the Department of Health sticks with the offer it has proposed, staff in Scotland will be considerably better off in 2021-22 than their counterparts in England.

“This has been an exceptionally challenging year for our health service and I am delighted that the Scottish Government has been able to recognise the service and dedication of our healthcare staff. On behalf of us all, thank you for all you have done and for all you continue to do.”


On 24 March the Scottish Government announced a pay offer for Action for Change employees which unions agreed to take to staff. The pay offer is:

  • Bands 1 - 4: a flat uplift of £1,009
  • Bands 5 - 7: a 4% uplift
  • Bands 8a - 8c: a 2% uplift
  • Bands 8D – 9: a flat uplift of £800

NHS staff side met on May 12th following the closure of the staff ballot on the Agenda for Change pay deal. Seven of the nine unions representing AfC staff have voted to accept the deal. While support for the deal was not unanimous, a clear majority of staff who voted wish to accept it.

British Dietetic Association


College of Podiatrists


Chartered Society of Physiotherapy








Society of Radiographers






Assuming the Department of Health in England maintains its current position, staff in Scotland will be considerably better off in 2021-22:

  • Pay for a porter at the top of Band 2 will be over £2,028 more
  • Pay for a healthcare assistant at the top of Band 3 will be over £2,211 more
  • Pay for a healthcare support worker at the top of Band 4 will be over £1,583 more
  • Pay for a ward nurse at the top of Band 5 will be over £1,994 more
  • Pay for a paramedic at the top of Band 6 will be nearly £2,467 more
  • Pay for an advanced nurse practitioner at the top of Band 7 will be over £2,898 more.

Agenda for Change is the NHS pay system for all staff directly employed by NHS Health Boards with the exception of Medical and Dental staff who are within the remit of the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body, and Executive and Senior Management staff. Across the UK, the system applies to over one million NHS staff and in NHS Scotland approximately 154,000 NHS Staff are on these terms and conditions of service.


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