I have the highest admiration for the NHS as it saved my life in an emergency operation in the middle of the night when I was 24. In addition, two of my children currently work for the NHS. Therefore, as a family, we are deeply committed to it.
I believe that the passion, commitment, and specialist knowledge of our NHS staff is part of what makes our NHS so special. Frontline NHS workers have played a vital and unique role throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and I know we are all grateful for their dedication. It is right that they receive a pay rise, despite the wider public sector pay pause, in recognition of their extraordinary contribution.
That is why I warmly welcome the Government’s acceptance of the independent pay review bodies’ recommendation to give a 3 per cent pay rise to NHS staff. This real-term increase will benefit 1 million of our NHS staff, including nurses, paramedics, consultants, dentists, salaried GPs and porters. For the average nurse, this will mean an additional £1,000 a year, while many porters and cleaners will receive around £540. I firmly support the decision to provide this pay uplift in recognition of the NHS’ extraordinary work and the impact of the pandemic.
It is absolutely vital that we back our NHS and support it in efforts to tackle both the COVID-19 pandemic and the backlog of other health problems that have built up. The historic long-term settlement for the NHS will see NHS funding increase by £33.9 billion by 2023/24 and, in recognition of the unprecedented pressure from the pandemic, a further £3 billion of additional funding is being provided in 2021/22 to support recovery from the impact of COVID-19.
I share the Government’s commitment to making the NHS the best place to work for all staff and welcome continued investment in recruitment and retention. There are currently almost 1.2 million staff working in NHS trusts, an increase of over 45,300 compared with a year ago. This includes over 4,000 more doctors and almost 9,000 more nurses, meaning the Government is on track to deliver on the commitment to recruit 50,000 more nurses by 2024.
I can assure you that I will continue to play my part in ensuring that we support all those in our health service who are working tirelessly to care for patients.