Under the three-year deal agreed in 2008, health workers received a 2.75% rise in 2008/9, a further 2.4% in 2009/10 and are due another 2.25% increase in the final year, 2010/11.
Earlier this year, unions threatened to pull out of the deal if inflation rose significantly. But now both the DoH and unions have submitted evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB), arguing that it is not necessary to review next year's 2.25% rise.
The health unions' joint evidence said that, despite current low levels of inflation, staff were ‘still feeling the effect of earlier high inflation'. It said demand on health services was likely to increase during the recession, with higher workloads leading to increased stress.
But although nurses are more dissatisfied with their pay and remuneration than any other aspects of their working lives, it said that ‘NHS pay is not out of step with pay settlements across the public sector'.
The English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish governments' combined evidence to the PRB states that they ‘do not favour reviewing the agreed award for the NHS Agenda for Change workforce in 2010/11'.