Health Secretary Steve Barclay held “constructive” talks with NHS staff which could end the long pay row. Wednesday’s ambulance strike has been halted while negotiations continue with the Government.
Meetings will be held with the NHS staff council, which represents several health unions including the Royal College of Nursing, Unison, GMB and Unite.
Day one of talks with unions acting for ambulance workers, physiotherapists, nurses and midwives, are “continuing and constructive”, a source said on Tuesday night.
Meetings will focus on pay for 2022/23 and 2023/24. Any payment for the current financial year will be a one-off payment and will not be carried over to next year’s pay packet.
The Government has indicated it will only be able to give the majority of NHS workers, apart from doctors, dentists and very senior managers – a maximum of a 3.5 percent uplift in next year’s pay award.
But it has been suggested there may be some flexibility on this.
Discussions with health unions could focus on other issues, including staff banding, work hours, pay at lower rates and the way the pay is set each year, it is understood.
Mr Barclay said: “We are in discussion with trade union colleagues – we have a shared purpose to address the very real challenges that the NHS workforce has faced, particularly in the context of the pandemic.
“And we have a shared desire between the trade unions and the Government to focus on patients.”
The negotiations are not with junior doctors, who are still set to walk out for 72 hours next week.