A FORMER NHS manager says NHS staff "deserve better" than the three per cent pay rise announced by government.

The UK government said NHS staff in England will be given the pay increase "in recognition of their extraordinary efforts".

However, both the Royal College of Nursing and former NHS manager Lynn Denham have pointed out what little impact the rise will have in real terms.

Cllr Denham, Labour councillor for Cathedral ward, said: "This is about how much we value people in our society.

"Someone who has the skills and training to save lives is more valuable than, for example, an investment banker."

Cllr Denham, who was also a former hospital pharmacist and worked in NHS from 1976 to 2011, pointed out that the pay increase would amount to very little.

"It is important to remember that public sector workers have been subject to a pay freeze for several years.

"So a 3 per cent rise on a low salary is much less money than a 3 per cent rise on a high salary.

"The NHS needs our wholehearted support and proper investment in the workforce."

It was a point echoed by the nursing union who pointed out that the rise was lower than the rate of inflation and effectively a pay cut.

Pat Cullen, RCN general secretary and chief executive, said: “Nursing staff will remain dignified in responding to what will be a bitter blow to many.

"But the profession will not take this lying down. We will be consulting our members on what action they would like to take next.”

The RCN has been campaigning for a 12.5 per cent pay increase for all nursing staff.

Health Minister and Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid said NHS staff are "rightly receiving" a pay rise this year. 

"We will back the NHS as we focus our efforts on getting through this pandemic and tackling the backlog of other health problems that has built up.

"I will continue to do everything I can to support all those in our health service who are working so tirelessly to care for patients."