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How much can I expect to earn working as a registered nurse in the UK?


If you are a nurse from abroad, you may be wondering how much you can earn working as a registered nurse in the UK. As you may be aware, United Kingdom has a world famous public health system called National Health Service. The National Health Service (NHS) is the publicly funded healthcare system in England, and one of the four National Health Service systems in the United Kingdom. It is primarily funded by the government from general taxation (plus a small amount from National Insurance contributions), and overseen by the Department of Health and Social Care. NHS provides healthcare to all legal English residents and residents from other regions of the UK, with most services free at the point of use.



The 1942 Beveridge cross-party report was the starting point of NHS and this established the principles which was implemented by the Labour government in 1948. Labour's Minister for Health Aneurin Bevan is popularly considered as the founder of NHS. The National Health Service Act 1946 came into effect on 5 July 1948.


The NHS provides the majority of healthcare in England, including primary care, in-patient care, long-term healthcare, ophthalmology and dentistry. Private health care has continued parallel to the NHS, paid for largely by private insurance: it is used by about 8% of the population, generally as an add-on to NHS services. There are care homes and nursing homes run by private companies and individuals which also employs registered nurses.


If you work in the NHS as a nurse then you are subject to the Agenda for Change pay scale and the pay rises are dictated by the government of the day.The private sector generally uses the Agenda for Change as a benchmark as to what a nurse should be paid and then translate it across to their own pay system and often varies 10-20% compared to NHS.



Currently, the pay scales are as follows:


All registered nurses start as Band 5 Staff Nurse and the starting pay is £25,655.


Next level is Band 6 Senior Staff Nurse/Junior Sister/Charge Nurse and thiss would normally comes with additional responsibility and increased pay scale.


Band 7 Ward Manager/Specialist Nurse Practitioner/Senior Sister/Charge would see a significant difference in their pay starting from £40.057 a year.


Further career progression and roles are:

Band 8a Matron/Clinical Lead/Advanced Nurse Practitioner

Band 8b Service Lead / Nurse Consultant

Band 8c Divisional Nurse/Nurse Consultant

Band 8d Deputy Chief Nurse

Band 9 Chief Nurse/Director of Nursing



As a nurse you will be working unsocial hours- night shifts and weekends. Therefore, roles in Band 7 and under are usually subject to an unsocial hours payment for evenings, weekends and nights worked.


Staff working in London and surrounding areas are also entitled to a Higher Cost of Living Allowance and London weighting which can be up to a further £7,000 per year in the inner London area.


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