The Health Minister has said he will accept the recommendations made by pay review bodies but is unable to move forward without an agreed budget. With Stormont in limbo due to the DUP’s stance on the NI Protocol, the NI Executive is currently unable to meet putting the NHS pay award on ice.
Minister Swann was speaking following the publication of recommendations by the respective pay review bodies for HSC Agenda for Change and Medical and Dental workforces. He said:
“I wish to thank both NHSPRB and DDRB for their respective reports. 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.“
“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.”
With the Executive not in place due to the DUP’s stance on the NI Protocol.
DUP MLA Pam Cameron said,
“We support the recommendations of the independent pay review body and recognise the need for our health staff to be properly paid. It is clear that the Health Minister will require additional support to fund these recommendations.
The Government should move quickly to allocate additional resources and we will continue to make the case for Westminster to provide adequate funding as well as for a future local Executive to tackle waiting lists and reform our health system.
In order to have a solid foundation for successful devolution those issues that have eroded confidence need to be dealt with once and for all. It is further welcome development that the NI Protocol will now complete its Commons stages before the Westminster summer recess.”