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Nurses have been left furious over a pay rise after the Government accepted a recommendation for health workers to be rewarded following their dedication during the pandemic.

The Department for Health and Social Care issued a press release confirming a 3% pay increase, backdated to April, hours after ministers had been expected to give a statement in the House of Commons at lunchtime.

In anticipation of the announcement, around a dozen nurses and members of the Royal College of Nursing gathered in Victoria Tower Gardens, near Parliament, where they held placards and banners calling for a pay increase of 12.5%.

Kafeelat Adekunle, 55, a community matron with Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London, described the pay rise as “mad”.

“I’m not happy,” she told the PA news agency. “They’re not listening, that’s the whole problem. This is just to try and stop us from doing industrial action, just to keep us quiet, keep us shushed. I’m not so sure this is really nice, instead this is going to make us more angry and confidence is going to go in the Government. The contribution from nurses and health workers during the pandemic has been enormous. People have died. My colleagues died. This is really discouraging news.”

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