The Government has announced funding to cover the cost of one-off payments to healthcare staff at non-NHS organisations in England such as charities, local authorities, and social enterprises.
Eligible organisations can apply for funding to help deliver one-off payments to staff, worth at least £1655, which was agreed as part of the NHS pay award earlier this year that ended a long-running dispute, which also gave more than one million staff a 5% pay rise.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said it is significant progress, but "not before time".
RCN director of England Patricia Marquis said: "In the four months after the one-off payment was given to the majority, we have campaigned alongside the nursing staff who were left without. The Government should learn from this situation for all future pay awards to ensure these staff are not forgotten and these delays are not repeated."
The Government announced it has agreed to provide additional funding for organisations with contracts to deliver NHS services. These staff are contractually eligible for the payments, but the independent organisations are responsible for making them.
DHSC Said It Had "Listened to Concerns"
The Department of Health and Social Care said it had listened to concerns about providing the payments in the current economic circumstances and so will make funding available to help deliver them.
Health Minister Will Quince said: "Given the difficult economic context, we have made the decision to provide additional funding on this occasion to help deliver the one-off payments to eligible staff employed by non-NHS organisations. This will ensure hardworking healthcare staff and the organisations they work for are not financially disadvantaged as a result of the NHS pay deal, and means they will receive their backlog bonus for their efforts during the pandemic."
The RCN said: "Unfortunately, there are still some nursing staff delivering NHS care who will not get this if their contract is not dynamically linked to Agenda for Change. Pay uplifts and any one-offs should, as a rule, go to all who deliver NHS care and not leave some people behind through contractual technicalities. The Department must provide clarity on who will receive the funding.
"We renew our call today for nursing staff working in general practice to also be given their full pay uplift with the money similarly made directly available by central Government."
The Unison union's head of health, Sara Gorton, said: "This will ensure a small number of providers aren't out of pocket for awarding staff what they're legally owed, but this should have happened months ago. Sadly, this won't stop thousands of contractors and 'bank' providers from ignoring calls to do the right thing by paying the lump sum to outsourced and temporary staff in the NHS. Many of these workers are on low wages and insecure contracts.
"Ministers must end the two-tier employment scandal in the NHS and ensure all employers in the service play by the same rules."