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‘Appalling’ New Pay Figures Show Some NHS Earnings down by £7,500 per Year

Thursday, September 21, 2017


Ambulance staff worst affected by huge pay cuts and rocketing workplace stress.

GMB analysis of ‘appalling’ new official wage figures reveals the shocking scale of the real-terms pay cuts endured by NHS workers. [1]

The latest official estimates of staff earnings, which were published this morning (21 September 2017) show ambulance staff have had their real terms pay slashed by £7,500 a year compared to their 2010 wages.

The average NHS worker’s salary is now up to £3,800 lower than it would have been in if wages had kept pace with inflation.

Staff nurses’ earnings are £4,500 lower in real terms.

The latest figures show that although basic pay increased by 1.2 per cent between 2016 and 2017, non-basic pay (such as overtime payments and shift allowances) was reduced – meaning that average NHS pay rose by just 0.9 per cent during the same period.

Although average NHS earnings have increased by 8 per cent since 2010, this is still significantly below inflation rates of 15 per cent (CPI) and 21.3 per cent (RPI) over the same period.

Average ambulance workers’ pay has not changed in cash terms since 2010, meaning that a paramedic or emergency care assistant has lost out on up to £7,500 a year. [2]

Separate NHS figures released this morning shows that ambulance staff have the highest sickness absence rates in the country – with 5 per cent of staff reporting sickness absence in May 2017.

A recent GMB investigation found that 12 per cent of ambulance staff took time off due to stress, anxiety or depression last year, costing the NHS 80,000 working days. In some Trusts almost a quarter of all ambulance staff had to take time off due to stress. [3]

Kevin Brandstatter, GMB National Officer, said:

“These appalling figures leave no doubt that there is a pay crisis in the NHS.

“Trusts are cutting back on overtime payments but demand continues to rise at record rates. GMB’s members are plugging the gap with unpaid overtime but the goodwill won’t last forever.

“The public will be appalled to find out that the take-home pay of many NHS nurses and paramedics is lower now than it was seven years ago, even before inflation is taken into account.

"It’s no wonder so many are having to take time off with stress.

“GMB is campaigning for real pay rises for all its members in the NHS. Any new awards musts be properly funded – the public won’t accept increases above one per cent that are paid for by cutting jobs and services.

“When Philip Hammond announces his decision in the Budget, he must offer all public sector workers a real above-inflation pay rise.

"Nothing less will be acceptable.”


Contact: GMB press office on 07958 156846 or at

Notes to editors

[1] NHS Digital, NHS Staff Earnings Estimates to June 2017 - Provisional statistics, 21 September 2017:

[2] NHS staff salary changes (all earnings) compared to inflation, selected occupational groups represented by GMB – 2010 to 2017 Aug-10* Jun-17

Wage cut (CPI) 
Wage cut (RPI) 
  • All NHS staff
  • Nurses & health visitors
  • Midwives
  • Ambulance staff
  • Support to clinical staff
  • Support to ambulance staff
  • Hotel, property & estates

Inflation August 2010 to June 2017 (source - ONS) CPI 15 per cent RPI 21.3 per cent

* August 2010 is the earliest month for which figures are available.

[3] NHS Digital, NHS Sickness Absence Rates May 2017, 21 September 2017:

Huffington Post, Ambulance Staff Took 80,000 Sick Days Due To Stress In A Single Year, 20 September 2017:

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