Unfunded pay increases risk blowing NHS budget further

Nigel Edwards responds to the announcement of NHS pay increases.

Press release

Published: 19/07/2022

Responding to the confirmed pay uplift for NHS staff, Nuffield Trust Chief Executive Nigel Edwards said:

“If the pay award for NHS staff agreed by the government today is not fully funded, as the Treasury has strongly indicated, then the health service risks blowing its budget even further this year and finding itself in even deeper water financially.

“Even without finding additional cash for pay, the NHS was already staring down an impossible task of finding £5.5 billion worth of savings within its budget. It is pointless to pretend that these levels of efficiencies can be made in a year without detrimental effects such as possible cuts to staffing numbers.

“Before the cost of living crisis deepened, the NHS had only budgeted for a 3% uplift across staff groups. Funding the shortfall would mean the NHS will need to find well over £1 billion to cover costs. This comes at a time when the NHS is already trying to do more. Dedicated Covid funding has been cut yet substantial costs dealing with the virus remain.

“Without increases to the budget to ease this pressure and fund the higher than anticipated pay rise, the government will have to realise there will be knock-on implications for how much resource the service can throw at tackling record waiting lists.”

Notes to editors