Female paramedic answering a call in an ambulance

Our case

An investment in NHS pay is necessary, non-inflationary and good value for taxpayers’ money. Download a copy of our Case for NHS Pay 2024 here.

The case for investment in NHS pay 2024

A pay rise for the NHS is:

Economically sensible

    • The NHS is critical for economic growth and prosperity – keeping people healthy is key to the success of our economy.
  • Investment in pay is good value for money. Better NHS pay provides value by reducing costs for recruiting and training healthcare staff, reducing spending on expensive agency and bank staff, and putting money back into the Treasury through supporting local economies.
  • An inflation-level pay award will not drive further inflation. Economists including the IFS have debunked the argument that public sector pay will create a price-wage spiral.

Necessary to support the NHS

  • There is a backlog of unmet demand. More than 7.2 million people are on NHS waiting lists in England alone, including more than 410,000 who have been waiting for more than a year.
  • Pressure is intensifying, with some parts of the NHS including primary care and emergency care in acute crisis. These pressures are harming patient safety – something the Health and Social Care Select Committee warned about in July 2022.
  • A substantial pay rise for the NHS workforce is essential to address chronic understaffing. Fewer than 1 in 3 respondents to the NHS Staff Survey said that there were enough staff at their organisation to do the job properly.
  • Morale is at an all-time low and intention to leave among NHS staff is increasing.


  • NHS staff go above and beyond their contractual obligations every day, working overtime, both paid and unpaid, aware of the huge responsibility and trust that patients and their families place in them.
  • Staff were at the forefront of the war against Covid-19. They put their lives on the line day after day, in defence of the nation and in the line of duty.
  • NHS pay has fallen further behind the private sector. Average regular pay growth for the private sector was 6.9% in August to October 2022, and 2.7% for the public sector.
  • The NHS is losing staff to hospitality and retail. NHS Providers found that two- thirds of Trusts reported a significant or severe impact from staff leaving for other sectors.

Essential in a cost-of-living crisis

  • The cost-of-living crisis is hitting NHS staff hard. UK inflation hit 11.1% in October 2022 with costs of basic goods and services rising even faster. Food inflation hit 16.5% in the 12 months to November 2022 and energy costs have almost doubled.
  • Many are going without the basics, and falling behind on bills. As a result, more than half of NHS trusts are either providing or planning food banks for staff.
  • Falling living standards and increasing poverty are leading to a general worsening of mental and physical well-being.

Supported by the public

  • The Public have consistently supported giving NHS workers a pay rise. A Survation poll conducted in August 2022 found 73% of the public want NHS staff to get a pay rise in line with inflation.
  • Public support for health workers taking action over pay and patient safety remains high. In a December poll, nearly two in three voters backed strikes by nurses and ambulance workers.