Nursing in the UK | NHS Nurse Bands & Pay Scales Explained (Updated for 2023)

Thinking of making the move to the UK to work as a nurse? You will probably want to familiarise yourself with how the pay scales work in the NHS.

The NHS classifies internal positions across nine distinct Bands. For example, a catering assistant or cleaner is typically a Band 1, while an Administrative Assistant and Porter is a Band 2.

Within Nursing, qualified Staff Nurses start as a Band 5 moving to Band 6 as a Junior Sister, Specialist Staff Nurse or Emergency Nurse Practitioner.

A Band 7 Nurse is a senior nursing role such as a Senior Sister, while a Band 8 (which is further sub-divided into 4 bands – A, B, C and D) generally includes Assistant Directors of Nursing, Senior Nurse Manager, Matron or Divisional Nurse.

At the very top end of the scale is Band 9, which includes the most senior Clinicians such as Chief Nursing Officers and Executive Directors of Nursing.

When it comes to getting paid by your new employer, your salary will be determined not only by your Band but also where you work in the UK. The NHS is devolved in Britain, with England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales each having their own publicly funded health systems. As a result, pay scales slightly differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

For full details of the different national pay scales for nurses working in the NHS in 2023, click here.

Finally, if you’re planning to work for an NHS Trust in London, it might help to know that Nurses working in Inner London receive an additional 20% of salary with a minimum payment of £4,888 and a maximum of £7,377. Nurses working in Outer London receive an additional 15% and those working in the London Fringe receive 5% – this is known as London Weighting, or the High Cost Area Supplement. For more detailed information on the breakdown of how this works, click here.

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