Closed petition To pay every NHS and Social Care Worker in England a £500 "Thank You" Bonus

To pay by way of a "Thank You" bonus a £500 one off bonus to our NHS and Social Care workers in England in recognition for their extraordinary service during the pandemic.

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In recognition of our NHS heath and social care workers during the pandemic for their extraordinary service during the pandemic.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

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Government responded

This response was given on 19 April 2021

We are immensely grateful to our health and social care workforce. We are not, currently, planning to pay £500 bonuses but are exploring ways to improve recognition of health and social care staff.

The Government hugely values and appreciates all our NHS and social care staff. We are working hard to ensure that all health and social care workers feel supported and safe to continue the fight against Covid-19.

COVID-19 has placed a huge strain on public finances and the economic outlook remains uncertain. At the 2020 Spending Review the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that pay rises in the public sector would be paused for 2021/22, with two exceptions, NHS staff and public sector workers with full-time equivalent salaries of £24,000 or less.

By planning for an uplift in pay to NHS staff at a time when uplifts in the wider public sector have been paused, the Government is acknowledging the extraordinary service of NHS staff through the pandemic. We believe this balances the challenging fiscal and economic context and the need to acknowledge that NHS staff have gone the extra mile. We have submitted our written evidence to the independent pay review bodies and have asked them to report in the spring. As the PRBs are independent of the Government, we cannot pre-judge their recommendations. The Government will take time to carefully consider their recommendations before responding.

The vast majority of care workers are employed by private sector providers who ultimately set their pay and remuneration, independent of central government. Local Authorities work with care providers to determine a fair rate of pay based on local market conditions. In adult social care, we have taken steps to support the sector and workers during the pandemic. We have provided over £1.4 billion through our Infection Control Fund for adult social care providers. The Infection Control Fund is for measures such as maintaining the normal wages of staff who may need to self-isolate and covering extra costs related to other infection prevention measures such as avoiding using public transport. This is in addition to £4.6 billion we have now made available to local authorities so they can address pressures on local services caused by the pandemic.

It is important that staff feel valued and supported, particularly at the present time, and we recognise that this extends beyond just financial support and pay. That is why we are also investing in our health and social care staff in other ways. The NHS People Plan published last year sets out practical actions to boost recruitment and retention in the NHS, invest in staff wellbeing and promote a more compassionate and inclusive workplace culture.

Alongside the NHS People Plan, we have invested a combined £30 million in Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs and the provision of enhanced occupational health and wellbeing support across 14 regional health systems. In some areas this support has also been extended to social care.

To support the wellbeing of NHS and social care workers we have provided a package of emotional, psychological and practical resources throughout the pandemic. We have worked with the Samaritans to extend their confidential emotional staff support line to all NHS and social care staff who might be feeling increasingly stressed, anxious or overwhelmed due to the pandemic, and supported Hospice UK to extend its bereavement and trauma line to provide support to both NHS and social care staff. Both services offer a safe space for workers to talk to a professional if they have experienced bereavement, trauma or anxiety as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and can signpost further available support.

While the pay review bodies are taking evidence and preparing the report, we do not want to set out a pre-emptive policy on pay. However, we have no current plan to provide NHS staff with a £500 bonus nor do we have a plan to do so for social care.

Department of Health and Social Care

Other parliamentary business

MPs to debate NHS pay

MPs will debate NHS pay on Wednesday 24 March in Westminster Hall.

This will be a general debate. General debates allow MPs to debate important issues, however they do not end in a vote nor can they change the law.

The debate will start at 9.25am and last for an hour and a half.

Watch the debate:
https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/49bac2c4-d228-4d34-8a0f-8df2f681af50

You'll be able to read a transcript of the debate a few hours after it happens:
https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-03-24

Find out more about how Parliamentary debates work: https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/debates/