Thank you for contacting me about emergency care assistant pay.
Let me begin by saying how much I value the tireless work of emergency care assistants, and their importance in supporting patients during times of record demand.
I understand your concern regarding pay bands for emergency care assistants. It was a positive step for patients that trade unions representing ambulance workers paused strike action in March 2023, which opened the path to negotiations with the Government and NHS Staff Council to find a fair and reasonable settlement.
As a result of talks between the Government, NHS employers and the unions, NHS staff (including paramedics and 999 call handlers) are receiving a 5 per cent pay rise for 2023-24, as well as a one-off payment of worth at least £1,655 to top up the previous year’s salary. I firmly believe that this agreement represents a fair and reasonable pay deal for NHS staff, one which was endorsed by the NHS Staff Council – which includes unions and NHS employers.
NHS England is working closely with ambulance trusts to ensure there is an effective health and wellbeing offer that has a focus on prevention. This has included working in collaboration with ambulance trusts and the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives to develop rehabilitation pathways for staff who have been on long term sickness and to improve the mental health and wellbeing support available to staff. During 2022/23, a sector wide Attendance Management group chaired by West Midlands Ambulance Service and London Ambulance Service and facilitated by NHS England worked to review best practice on attendance to standardise approaches across the sector.