Health visitors in Scotland will be paid more than their counterparts in England and Wales.
Health visitors in Scotland will now start on Band 7, with a starting salary of £33,222. In contrast, health visitor in England, Wales and Northern Ireland usually start at band 6, with starting salaries of around £28,050.
Unions claim the change better reflects the contribution health visitors pay to the health and wellbeing of communities.
It is hoped the change will attract more skilled nurses to the usually under resourced speciality.
Norman Provan, RCN Associate Director, said: “Health visitors play a crucial role in supporting parents and children through the early years. The importance of their contribution to the health and wellbeing of our communities needed to be reflected in the pay that these specialist nurses receive.
“The RCN pushed to have the job re-evaluated and we are pleased that the process confirmed our position – that health visitors deserve more financial recognition for the job that they do. The new job description and banding have been agreed nationally and we are now looking for health boards across Scotland to apply this for their health visitor workforce.”
Working in ‘trying circumstances’.
Unite the union are putting pressure on the Scottish Governement to ensure the increase is properly funded and funding is not diverted from other key services.
Gavin Fergie, Unite’s Lead Professional Officer for health in Scotland, said: “Unite is pleased that the higher banding is a recognition of the professional dedication and quality of service provided by health visitors in Scotland. Under often trying circumstances, they do their professional best to address Scotland’s public health needs.
“The health visiting service is at a cross roads in Scotland with the numbers of practitioners not available to meet the demands and aspirations of the service.
“Unite hopes that this decision will add to the attraction of being a health visitor as a career choice. However, we are equally clear that this re-banding must not come at the expense of other colleagues in the wider health sector and result in future cuts by health boards.
“The Scottish Government must ensure that this increase is properly resourced and no finances are diverted away from other key areas.”