(Photo: REUTERS/Hannah McKay)

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) has welcomed a deal to raise the payment of the NHS Scotland workforce and has called on the rest of the UK to follow Scotland’s lead.

According to the agreement, the majority of employees receive a four per cent increase backdated to December 1, 2020. For those on band 8a – 8c, the increase drops to two per cent, and for those on 8d or above it is a flat increase of £800.

“While welcoming the overall settlement, the PDA Union remains of the view that the four per cent increase should have applied to all,” it said in a statement on Wednesday (June 9).

Despite these reservations, the PDAU recognises this increase has many plus points as Paul Moloney, the PDAU national officer, explains: “It is disappointing that the whole workforce in the NHS in Scotland have not been treated equally and that those in more senior graded positions have received a lower percentage increase. Nevertheless, for pharmacists this increase is significantly above current measures of inflation.

“This has been an important objective supported by all NHS unions including the PDA Union. In addition, the decision to backdate the increase to December 1, 2020 instead of April 1, 2021 is an important part of the agreement. For someone on the midpoint of Band 7 this delivers in the region of an additional £530 before tax which for this one year is the equivalent of another 1.3 per cent increase.”

Paul added that it is important to also recognise how this agreement relates to the UK-wide restructuring of the Agenda for Change pay rates started in 2018 and reaching its conclusion this year.

Paul Day, the PDAU director, said: “There is still a long way to go to make up what was lost during the years of austerity but in Scotland at least progress is being made. We call on the Independent Pay Review Body, the body making recommendations on NHS pay for the rest of the UK, to take note and recommend a similar increase for all NHS employees.”

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