Breakthrough ‘close’ in NHS pay talks – report

Ministers and health service unions are reported to be close to a breakthrough in talks to resolve a long-running pay dispute which has seen the NHS in England hit by a series of strikes.

The Guardian reported that an announcement could come as early as Thursday after talks with unions representing nurses and ambulance staff were said to have made positive progress.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the discussions had been “constructive and meaningful” and that the talks were still ongoing.

The development comes after the Royal College of Nursing last month agreed to suspend industrial action while it entered into intensive negotiations with ministers, to be followed by other health unions.

The Guardian said the negotiations had covered the awards for 2022-23 and 2023-24, with Health Secretary Steve Barclay present for much of the discussion.

However the paper said there was uncertainty about whether members would accept the terms of any offer when they came to be balloted.

A DHSC spokesman said: “The Government, NHS employers and unions representing the NHS agenda for change workforce have been holding constructive and meaningful discussions covering pay and non-pay matters.

“These talks are ongoing.”