A group of unions representing NHS staff – including nurses – has voted to accept a pay offer from the government.

Unison, GMB, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists and the Royal College of Midwives were among those who supported the 5% pay offer, plus a cash top up.

The Royal College of Nursing – which represents most nurses – and Unite voted against the deal. Sky News understands the council’s electoral college voted 27 to 17 in favour of the deal.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay says he now plans to impose the deal for all of those on the Agenda for Change pay scale.

Starmer accuses Tories of trying to ‘resurrect’ Sue Gray story – politics latest

But it does not necessarily mean industrial action will end, as there could still be opposition from unions to offers for the 2023/24 period as well as workplace reform.

The Royal College of Nursing is re-balloting its members for a mandate to strike – which could precipitate action taking place up until Christmas.

Meanwhile, Unite has said it will take "escalating" action – the union has a small period of mandate left call strikes, but will also reballot its members on whether they still want to continue taking action.

Sky News understands that, while the RCN, Unite, Royal College of Podiatry and Society of Radiographers voted to reject the government’s offer, only the first two voted against the deal being implemented.

Mr Barclay said: "It is now my intention to implement this for all staff on the Agenda for Change contract and where some unions may choose to remain in dispute, we hope their members – many of whom voted to accept this offer – will recognise this as a fair outcome that carries the support of their colleagues and decide it is time to bring industrial action to an end.

"We will continue to engage constructively with unions on workforce changes to ensure the NHS is the best place to work for staff, patients and taxpayers."

Sara Gorton, the head of health at Unison, said: "NHS workers will now want the pay rise they’ve voted to accept. The hope is that the one-off payment and salary increase will be in June’s pay packets.

"But health staff shouldn’t have needed to take action in the first place. Unions made clear to ministers last summer that £1,400 wasn’t enough to stop staff leaving the NHS, nor prevent strikes. But the government wouldn’t listen."

Read more:
Patient waiting for crucial operation worried she may die
Eurovision rail strike workers ‘should show solidarity with Ukraine’

Pat Cullen, the head of the RCN, wrote to Mr Barclay to say her union remains in "formal dispute" with the government and NHS over pay.

A letter from GMB to Steve Barclay in the wake of the vote welcomed the deal as "first steps on the long journey to dealing with the fundamental issues" facing its members and the NHS.

Danny Mortimer, the chief executive of NHS employers, said today’s developments were "very positive".

He said he is awaiting "confirmation of their plans" from the unions which rejected the deal.

© Sky News 2023