Nursing Salary, Pay Scale and Bands 2022 (2022)

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UK nursing salary & pay scale guide 2022. Discover how much nurses get paid plus bandings, benefits and more.

(This page has now been updated to reflect the 2022-2023 NHS pay rise)

About Nursing Pay In The UK

To say Nursing pay is a hot topic is something of an understatement. And while it’s widely understood that Nursing is a rewarding career, do the financial rewards match the demands of the job?

Between 2010 and 2015, average NHS Nursing salaries increased by just over 2%.

Then between 2015 and 2017, a fixed 1% pay rise was implemented – the well-known ‘pay cap’. From 2018 to end of March 2021 The New Pay Deal was implemented where salaries across the board increased over a 3 year period. In July 2021, a 3% pay rise was announced for NHS Nurses and back-dated to April. And more recently, in July 2022 a new pay increase was confirmed – and once again back-dated to April.

However, these headlines don’t tell the full story of Nursing pay. Does the private sector, for example, offer higher wages, as is often assumed? Do bank and agency nurses, often working side-by-side with permanent staff, enjoy vastly superior pay packets? And just how good is the NHS pension and other salary-supplementing benefits?

Few jobs carry such a broad range of salary ‘banding’, and few present such intricate differences in terms of private and public sector pay and benefits.

(Video) 10 Countries With The Highest Salaries For Nurses, 2022

Nursing offers great career flexibility, and that applies to pay too – bank and agency nurses often have the freedom to increase their earnings as and when they need to. For Nursing students and aspiring nurses, understanding these factors is vital when considering your future.

Our comprehensive guide to Nursing salaries, bandings and pay tackles this complex and often controversial subject with simple facts and insider tips and offers straightforward guidance on all the key factors affecting what nurses earn.

What Is The Average Wage For A UK Nurse In 2022?

A question we’re often asked is: what is the average wage of a UK Nurse?

It’s something everyone from aspiring nurses to qualified nurses in other countries are eager to understand.

Finding an ‘average’ is tricky, for a number of reasons.

UK Nurses can work in the NHS or the private sector and pay can vary greatly between the sectors. And within the NHS, pay alters according to experience and professional development.

Various job boards and recruitment sites that track the salaries of jobs they post suggest the average wage of a UK Nurse is somewhere around the £33,000 to £35,000 a year mark.

Interestingly, more than 50% of Adult Nurses are between the age of 41 and 60. And while some people do become Nurses in their 40s and beyond, we also know that the vast majority of newly qualified Nurses are under the age of 30.

That suggests the average Nurse has at least 5 years’ experience, which corresponds with the £33,000 to £35,000 range.

In 2018, The Royal College of Nursing calculated the average weekly pay for an NHS Nurse as being £642, and annually, our figure of £33,384.

This figure fits with the averages estimated on job boards, and our own understanding of NHS profiles taken from the NMC’s annual register.

It doesn’t necessarily reflect private sector pay but given that the vast majority of Nurses work in the NHS, this figure seems the most reliable available.

(Video) Shocking UK Nurse Salary in 2022 : Hourly and take home monthly pay

An Analysis Of Private And Public Sector Nursing Pay

While NHS pay for nurses is very clearly structured, private sector pay can vary wildly.

For starters, many private sector nurses who might work for private healthcare organisations, schools or charities typically negotiate their salaries. As is the case in most other industries, jobs can be advertised without clearly defined salaries or will be caveated with ‘salary dependent on experience’.

As a result, the private vs NHS pay debate is an impossible one to solve. Put simply, some private sector nurses will earn more than in the NHS, and some less.

It’s best instead to consider the other factors surrounding this debate – and what kind of person you are. The NHS offers stability and reliability. The salary bandings and benefits are clear and unwavering. You know where you are with an NHS job.

But a private Nursing job will operate differently altogether. While you might hit a banding ceiling at the NHS, the same constraints won’t necessarily apply privately. Just like the rest of the UK’s private sector workers, if you think you’re worth more, you can walk into your boss’ office and ask. But nothing is guaranteed – so there are no incremental or government rises.

However, to understand the benefits of being an NHS Nurse, you really need to consider the benefits package too…

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Bank And Agency Nursing In Terms Of Pay?

Another common misconception surrounds agency work.

Permanent nurses often work alongside agency nurses on particular shifts, and quickly catch on that their hourly rate far exceeds their own. From this, a conclusion is quickly jumped to: I’d earn more as an agency Nurse. And this isn’t necessarily the case.

While an agency rate is typically higher, agency nurses don’t get any sick pay or annual leave. Furthermore, there is no guarantee of work, and if you want to work consistently you might be forced to work in locations or disciplines you’d prefer not to. Plus, ‘agency caps’ are being applied to trusts across the country – which is threatening the amount of agency nurses each trust can actually use.

(Video) Payscale for Band 2,3 & 5 jobs in NHS /Support worker (Band 2)NHS SALARY/STAFF NURSE(Band 5) SALARY

So pay in this instance really is about more than money. For the right person though, being an agency Nurse really can pay off. The most successful agency nurses cast their nets widely. They might register for bank work at two neighbouring trusts, and then with a Nursing agency too. As a result, they have to be open to a wide variety of opportunities, working in hospitals, medical centres, prisons or schools from one day to the next. But if you’re a Nurse looking to build experience and try out other disciplines, this can all work in your favour – all whilst boosting your pay packet.

The bottom line is to understand the kind of person you are, and the kind of Nurse you want to be. Both ways of working can be financially rewarding if you approach them in the right way. And you can of course switch whenever necessary – as a qualified Nurse, permanent, NHS, private, agency and bank work is all at your disposal.

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What Is 'The New Pay Deal'?

From 1st April 2018 a restructuring of NHS Pay was set in place. It was called the New Pay Deal and it started a three year process where nurses' minimum salaries would increase by at least 6.5%.

Pay points were retired during this process. The restructuring of pay scales took place between March 2018 and 1st April 2021 - at which point all transitional points were removed.

(Our Pay Calculator and Pay Scale Table above both reflect the ongoing correct salaries.)

To help you understand The New Pay Deal and how this affects NHS nurse pay and salaries, our interactive New Pay Deal calculator above will show you what the pay increases were, per band, and per years' experience.

Please note that, the following pay points included transitional consolidated payments for the year 2020-21 only: 8A 36+37; 8B 40 + 41; 8C 44 + 45; 8D 48 + 49; 9 52 + 53

In the aftermath of the global economic recession of 2008, Nursing pay – like all other areas of the public sector – faced a squeeze. Between 2010 and 2015, standard Nursing wages increased by 2.2% - which wasn’t in line with inflation. Then, between 2015 and 2017, a 1% increase was implemented each year. However, the picture then started to look a bit more positive for NHS nurses thanks to the ‘New Pay Deal’. That deal featured a number of changes to existing bandings and pay scales:

  • Over the three years between March 2018 and April 1st 2021, nurses saw a minimum salary increase of 6.5%
  • That increase was structured in the following way for most bandings:
    • 3 % in 2018/19
    • 1.7% in 2019/20 plus a lump sum worth 1.1% paid in April 2019
    • 1.7% in 2020/21
  • These rates refer to top-of-band nurses – nurses at the bottom of their bandings saw increases of over 10% over the three years
  • In some Band 8 and Band 9 positions, pay increases were structured differently
  • Band overlaps were removed to ensure that promotions come with meaningful pay increases
  • Importantly, the New Pay Deal was funded by new government money – not by removing funding from patient care
  • Unsocial hours payments were not affected

The New Pay Deal has been followed by a 3% pay rise announced in July 2021, and the more recent increase announced in July 2022.


What Level Of Responsibility And Duties Can You Expect Within Each Nursing Band?

Band 5 – Newly Qualified Nurse

As a newly qualified Nurse, you’ll start at the bottom of Band 5. Typically, you’ll start in a hospital setting and then progress within your ward – gaining experience as you move up within your banding.

Many wards have a fairly clear career progression path in place from the very beginning, which helps you to plan ahead. Training opportunities will be vital not only to moving up within your banding, but to giving yourself the necessary skills to apply for Band 6 positions.

Band 6 – Nursing specialist or Senior Nurse

Band 6 roles will often involve similar tasks and responsibilities to Band 5 – but the vital difference is that they will be more specialised. A good example of a Band 6 job would be a health visitor, which would require some further qualifications. Equally, you might want to specialise in intensive care or long-term care, with these roles often coming with a Band 6 salary.

Ultimately, to progress to Band 6, you will need to pursue some further training within a specialist area – but the trust you’re working for will often provide funding or support for this.

Band 7 – Advanced Nurse / Nurse Practitioner

Band 7 roles typically require a Master’s level degree or equivalent – but again, trusts are often very keen to support their Nursing staff in attaining these qualifications. And importantly, tasks and responsibilities really step up a notch. Common examples include Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANPs), whose advanced training allows them to conduct detailed assessments, make diagnoses and prescribe medicine. In fact, at this level, a Nurse’s role begins to include responsibilities you might normally associate with a doctor.

(Video) NEW UK NURSE SALARY 2022/23 - NHS

You can also progress to this level within a more detailed specialism. An operating department practitioner, for example, might prepare a patient for surgery and assist the surgical team. These advanced skills require a lot of extra study and many years’ experience, but it’s a career route that often begins with a standard Band 5 Nursing post.

Band 8 – Modern Matron or Chief Nurse

For nurses, this banding reflects heads of Nursing teams. You will still carry out many Nursing duties, but you’ll also look after a large team of staff. At this level, proven management skills are essential, so it’s about experience and not just qualifications. Salaries can jump hugely in this banding, but that’s because of the extra responsibility and the inevitably long hours.

Band 9 – Consultant

Band 9 is exclusively for consultant level nurses. Here, you need to be an expert in your field – proven through experience and study. Like consultants or advisors in any other industry, you’ll be tasked with helping to shape high-level decision-making. Reaching this level will require a career-long pursuit of specialist skills and qualifications to supplement your vocational experience.


Are nurses getting a pay rise in 2022 UK? ›

In July 2022 the government confirmed a pay rise for NHS Nurses, which will be back-dated to April 2022. Full-time salaries will increase by £1,400 for most Nurses, which will equate to at least a 4% rise.

Are NHS staff getting a pay rise in 2022? ›

The top pay point in band 6 and all pay points in band 7 will be uplifted beyond the £1400 consolidated payment to provide for a 4 per cent award. The overall increase for the band 1 spot salary and the entry point of band 2 includes the adjustment made on 1 April 2022 to comply with the National Living Wage.

How much does a band 5 nurse earn 2022? ›

Band 5 nursing roles apply to newly qualified Nurses. The current starting salary for a Band 5 Nurse is £27,055. With 2-4 years' experience, a Band 5 Nurse will earn £29,180, and the very top of this banding pays £32,934.

What do band 7 nurses earn? ›

£36,678 - £43,868.

How much is a band 2 NHS salary? ›

Band two – £18,870 to £20,270. Band two (two years' experience) – £19,918 to £21,318. Band three – £20,330 to £21,730. Band three (two years' experience) – £21,777 to £23,177.

Do all NHS employees get pay rise? ›

All NHS staff under the remit of this year's pay review will receive a pay rise. Over one million staff under the Agenda for Change contract, including nurses, paramedics and midwives, will benefit from a pay rise of at least £1,400 this year backdated to April 2022.

What is a band 8 nurse? ›

Band 8 – Modern Matron, Chief or Head Nurse.

Will care workers get a pay rise 2022? ›

Effective from 1st May 2022, the significant pay rises will begin at 12% and go as high as 18%- in response to the exceptional work of their team.

What are NHS bands? ›

​Outlining the NHS Nurse Grades and Bands
  • ​• Band 1 - Nursery Assistant. ...
  • Band 2 - Healthcare Assistant. ...
  • Band 3 - Emergency Care Assistant. ...
  • Band 4 - Theatre Support Worker. ...
  • Band 5 – Newly Qualified Nurse. ...
  • Band 6 – Nursing specialist or Senior Nurse. ...
  • Band 7 – Advanced Nurse / Nurse Practitioner.

Will nursing salaries increase? ›

Nurses are coming off a strong year for salaries in 2021

Nurses in the 90% percentile of earners were bringing in more than $120,000 per year. “Nursing wages have increased significantly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Dr.

What date is NHS pay day this month? ›

You should be paid on the 1st of the month unless it is a bank holiday or weekend in which case it is brought forward to the nearest prior working day. The exception to this is when 1 April falls on a weekend or bank holiday.

What is Band 4 in the NHS? ›

Examples of roles at band 4 - assistant practitioner, audio visual technician, pharmacy technician, dental nurse and theatre support worker.

Is NHS Scotland getting a pay rise? ›

NHS medical and dental staff will be awarded a 4.5% pay increase for this year backdated to 1 April 2022. This is for all NHS Scotland medical and dental staff, general medical practitioners and general dental practitioners.


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