There was huge relief this week as unions decided to call off NHS industrial action in England and agree to the Government’s pay proposal made in January.

Responding to the decision, Danny Mortimer, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, said:

“This will be a huge relief for NHS organisations and for the thousands of patients and staff who were disrupted by industrial action.

“Employers do understand the anxieties of staff and urgently want to discuss sustainable ways to move away from pay restraint. This end to industrial action means we are now in a position to start those crucial discussions. Any solution will need to support better, safer and more responsive services to patients and more efficient use of NHS resources.”

The decision applies to England and was made at the NHS Staff Council, which is the regular meeting between health unions and employers that seeks constructive national agreements on pay terms and conditions.

The unions’ decision follows weeks of balloting in which most staff voted to accept the proposal, with some unions having a high turnout.