The National Health Service (NHS) pays registered nurses under a pay scale system that matches their abilities and responsibilities. The Agenda for Change became operational in December 2004 and is the current grading and pay system for NHS nursing staff. NHS banding ensures fair rates of pay across the NHS and allows nurses to move up NHS pay scales through training and development.
Band 5 Newly Qualified Nurse or Staff Nurse
Newly qualified registered nurses start at Band 5. Generally, 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 clear career progression path in place which helps you to plan ahead. Training opportunities are vital to move up within your banding and to provide you the necessary skills to apply for Band 6 nursing positions.
As of April 2020, the starting salary for a Band 5 Nurse is £24,907 a year. With 2-4 years of experience, a Band 5 nurse will earn £26,970. The very top of this band pays £30,615.
Band 6 Nursing Specialist or Senior Nurse
Band 6 roles often involve similar tasks and responsibilities as Band 5 nursing roles. However, the main difference is that they will be more specialised.
To progress to a Band 6 role, you will need to pursue some further training within a specialist area. For example, you may choose to specialize in intensive care, paediatrics or long-term care. Most NHS Trusts provide funding or support for this type of specialized training.
Band 6 roles start at £31,365 and rise to £37,890 for nurses with more than 7 years of experience.
Band 7 Advanced Nurse / Nurse Practitioner
Band 7 roles usually require a Masters’ degree or equivalent. Most NHS Trusts are happy to support their nursing staff to attain these qualifications. Highly specialized knowledge is essential to secure a position at this level.
Important responsibilities include the ability to conduct detailed clinical assessments, make diagnoses and prescribe medicine to patients. At this level, a nurse’s role begins to include many responsibilities that you normally associate with a doctor.
Band 7 roles start at £38,890 and rise to £44,503 for anyone with more than 7 years of experience.
Band 8 Modern Matron / Chief Nurse
This banding reflects heads of nursing. As a band 8 nurse, you may carry out many nursing duties, but you’ll also look after a large team of nursing staff. At this level, management skills are very important.
Band 8 roles start at £45,753 and can rise to £87,754 a year due to the extra responsibility and long hours.
Band 9 Consultant Level Nurse
Band 9 nursing posts are for the most senior members of NHS management who help shape high level decision making. Nurses at this level are experts within their field that help to educate others.
Band 9 roles start at £91,004 and rise to more than £100,000 a year. Reaching this level will require a career-long pursuit of specialist skills and qualifications to supplement nursing work experience.
Additional Benefits of Being an NHS Nurse
- Enhanced pay for unsociable hours for night shifts, weekends & bank holidays
- Generous and comprehensive NHS Pension Scheme
- 27 days’ holiday per year plus 8 bank holidays
- Six months full pay and six months half pay for sick leave
- Generous maternity and paternity leave
- Vast access to training courses and professional development
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