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What are the different NHS pay bands and their salaries as of 2023?

Nursing staff from various NHS pay bands in the UK discuss a case.

How many bands are there in nursing in the UK and their salaries

The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK pays registered nurses according to their abilities and responsibilities. The Agenda for Change, which went into effect in December 2004, is the current grading and pay system for NHS nursing staff. Simply put, the NHS staff structure is based on a banding system, with each role within the NHS assigned to a different band within the structure. The NHS banding system ensures that fair pay rates are maintained across the NHS. It also demonstrates a clear path for nurses to move up the pay scale through training and development. 

In this article, we will look into the various nursing bands within the NHS and their pay scales. If you want to work for the NHS, this article will be extremely helpful. 

Nursing bands and pay scale in the UK 

Currently, in the NHS there are 9 nursing bands in the UK. The band pay system included all staff except doctors, dentists, and other very senior managers. The staff covers will normally be promoted to the next pay band annually until they reach pay band 9. In addition to basic pay, there is also extra pay for staff who work in high-cost areas, such as around London, as we have started early. 

Band 1: Nursing assistant 

These roles require routine procedures that are gained through simple inductions or training. In the UK, nurses in this band are unskilled and have limited qualifications. Domestic support worker, housekeeping assistant, driver, and nursery assistant are examples of roles in Band 1. The nurses in this band typically earn a starting salary of around £20,270 per year, and their years of experience range from 0–1+. 

Band 2: Healthcare assistant 

In the UK, Band 2 employees are typically offered a salary of around £20,240 to £21,318 per year. Band 2 nurses responsibilities vary, including looking after patients' physical comfort, such as helping them wash, emptying bedpans, keeping the department clean and tidy, taking and recording basic observations, assisting patients with eating, and providing companionship.  

Band 2 nurses are the first point of contact for patients; thus, their role requires some form of induction so as to understand that ceratin procedures, though routine, could be performed outside their immediate work area. They must be friendly and interested in personal care to ensure they are always at ease. The years of experience for a Band 2 nursing staff range from 0–6+ years. Various examples of roles at Band 2 include healthcare assistant, nursery assistant, domestic team leader, domestic support worker, housekeeping assistant, driver security officer, and secretary/typist. 

Band 3: Emergency care assistant (ECA) 

Band 3 employees are expected to take on a more advanced and extremely vital role, as the patient care offered can potentially save a life. They are expected to apply their knowledge to new situations within a range of work procedures and would require a level of formal training or relevant experience. For example, you'll control bleeding and resuscitate patients one day and treat severe wounds from traffic accidents the next. 

As an ECA in the UK, you'll work with ambulance services responding to emergency calls, inspecting their vehicles before and during each shift to ensure they are clean, have enough fuel, and are stocked with the necessary supplies. Jobs in Band 3 include emergency care assistant, clinical coding officer, estates officer, and occupational therapy support worker. They typically earn a pay scale of around £21,730 to £23,177 per year. The years of experience for a Band 3 nursing staff range from 0–6+ years. 

Band 4: Theatre support worker 

In the UK, Band 4 employees are considered to be senior or advanced practitioners and typically earn a salary between £23,949 and £26,282 per year. Theatre support workers are an integral part of the operating department team that supports the surgical team. They are in charge of transporting patients on trolleys, assuring family members, preparing patients for anaesthetics, laying out instruments and equipment required for surgery, ensuring the department has a full stock of items, and cleaning theatre areas after surgery. Band 4 roles require a candidate to have relevant experience (0–6+) or complete a detailed training programme. Assistant practitioners, audio-visual technicians, pharmacy technicians, dental nurses, and theatre support workers are examples of Band 4 positions. 

Band 5: Newly qualified nurses or staff nurses 

A newly qualified registered nurse begins at Band 5 in the UK, where they begin in a hospital setting and then progress within wards, gaining more experience as they move up the NHS nursing banding system. Band 5 nurses have a clear career path from the beginning, allowing them to plan ahead for training and qualifications. Training opportunities are critical because they will not only help you move up a band but will also provide you with the necessary skillset to confidently complete your job role and provide the highest quality of care. Their typical pay scale starts at around £27,055 to £32,934 per year. 

Staff nurses in the UK are responsible for developing a nursing care plan for their patients, implementing the plan, and providing compassionate and high-quality care throughout their patient's stay. Staff nurses must also communicate effectively and work as part of a cohesive team. To work as a staff nurse, you must have a nursing diploma or degree, as well as organisational, analytical, and IT skills. 

Band 6: Nursing specialist or senior nurse 

In the UK, Band 6 nursing jobs frequently have the same tasks and responsibilities as Band 5 nursing jobs. However, the main difference is that they will be more specialised, have advanced clinical expertise, and act as clinical leaders and mentors for other nurses. For example, a nurse may choose to specialise in the intensive care unit, district nursing, paediatrics, or long-term care. They are often referred to as "Junior sisters," "specialist staff nurses," or "specialist nurse practitioners." Their typical pay scale starts at £31,365 and rises to £37,890 for nurses with more than 7 years of experience. 

Band 7: Advanced nurse or nurse practitioner 

In the UK, Band 7 positions typically require a Master's degree or equivalent, and NHS Trusts assist their nursing staff in obtaining these credentials. Highly specialised knowledge is required to secure a job at this level, and nurses at this level are frequently referred to as "Senior Sisters." A Band 7 nurse's important responsibilities include the ability to conduct detailed clinical assessments, make diagnoses, and prescribe medication to patients—responsibilities that are very similar to those of a doctor.  

The advanced skills necessitate additional study and years of experience, but it is a popular career path for most nurses. Band 7 salaries begin at £38,890 and rise to £44,503 for those with more than 7 years of experience. At Band 7, you can work as a communications manager, advanced speech and language therapist, or high-intensity therapist. 

Band 8: Modern Matron, Chief, or Head Nurse 

In the UK, Band 8 nurses are considered to be highly specialised and experienced, having a high level of autonomy, clinical judgement, and decision-making skills. They typically earn a pay scale of around £48,526 to £91,787 per year in the UK. Band 8 is the highest level of NHS nurse qualification. This band represents team leaders for nurses. You’ll still carry out many nursing duties in addition to managing a large team of nursing staff. 

Band 8a: 0 to 5 years and above 

Pay scale: £48,526 to £54,619 

Band 8b: 0 to 5 years and above 

Pay Scale: £56,164 to £65,262 

Band 8c: 0 to 5 years and above 

Pay scale: £67,064 to £77,274 

Band 8d: 0 to 5 years and above 

Pay Scale: £79,592 to £91,787 

Band 9: Consultant-level nurse 

In the UK, Band 9 is not a standard band in the NHS nursing pay scale. Band 9 is usually used for nursing management and leadership roles such as Director of Nursing, Chief Nurse, and other senior management roles that are not directly involved in patient care. 

These positions can have a wide range of pay scales based on the level of responsibilities and the size of the organisation for which they work, with pay ranging from 91,004 to £104,927 or more. A career-long pursuit of specialist skills and qualifications to supplement vocational experience is required to advance to this level. 

If you're a Healthcare Assistant, Registered General Nurse, or Emergency Nurse Practitioner and want to work as an agency nurse for the UK's leading nursing agency, apply today.

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