1.3M UK healthcare workers to receive first pay raise since 2010

More than 1 million healthcare workers in the U.K.'s National Health Service, including nurses, paramedics and emergency call handlers, will soon receive their first real pay raise since 2010, according to a CNNMoney report.

The raise, which affects 1.3 million NHS workers, does not include physicians. These workers have been promised salary increases of 6.5 percent to 29 percent over the next three years, which could start as soon as July 2018.

The pay raises are worth a combined $5.9 billion (£4.2 billion) and follow years of stagnant pay for U.K. public sector workers. Nearly 1 in 3 British public service employees work for the NHS.

Real wages in the U.K.'s healthcare system dropped 14 percent since 2010, according to the Royal College of Nursing, a labor union. "Seven years of pay freezes and wage increases well below the cost of living have meant significant financial hardship for health staff and their families," Sara Gorton, the lead negotiator for healthcare unions, told CNNMoney.

The agreement between labor unions and the government means even the lowest paid healthcare workers will see a salary increase of up to 13 percent this year, a gain of more than $2,800 (£2,000).

These low pay rates have contributed to staffing shortages at the NHS. In England alone, 40,000 nursing jobs are currently unfilled, according to the Royal College of Nursing.

The pay deal should "begin to make the [nursing] profession attractive again," Janet Davies, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, told CNNMoney.

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