Several constituents have contacted me recently regarding the recent Parliamentary debate held on the nurses’ pay e-petition. I was unable to attend the debate due to other Parliamentary engagements but you can read the Minister’s response to it here: 

I do appreciate the concerns that have been raised with me and strongly believe that the passion, commitment, and specialist knowledge our nurses and other NHS staff provide is what makes our NHS so special. 

As you are aware, following recommendations from the independent pay review bodies, the Government accepted a 1 per cent pay rise for doctors, dentists and all NHS staff on Agenda for Change contracts for 2016 to 2017. I appreciate that this is disappointing but the Government hopes that, as economic conditions improve, we will be able to increase this. 

Delivering a safer 7-day NHS for patients is a priority. An important part of this is that the NHS has to ensure it has the right staff, in the right place, at the right time to provide high quality services across the week. The NHS already has 32,000 extra clinical staff, including more than 10,000 additional doctors and more than 10,600 additional nurses on its wards since May 2010. 

To help support NHS staff in their duty of care, the Government has committed to increase NHS spending in England by £10 billion in real terms by 2020, of which £6 billion will be delivered by the end of 2016/17. By cutting bureaucracy and championing higher standards, Ministers have ensured this money goes on frontline care, not administration. 

Whilst the Government has had to carefully control public sector pay, it has been able to reduce taxes for working people. In the last Budget it was announced that from April 2017 the tax free personal allowance will rise to £11,500 - a tax cut for 31 million people. A typical basic rate taxpayer will therefore be paying over £1,000 less income tax then when we came into government five years ago. 

I am proud that the NHS has been rated the best healthcare system in the world, something that is only possible thanks to the dedication and hard work of all NHS staff, and supported by a strong economy.