Downing Street exclude nurses from the public sector pay increase

29 Jul 2020
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The Treasury announced on July 21, that nearly 900,000 public sector workers would receive an inflation-busting pay rise, but not our nurses. 

Nurses are among some of the key frontline workers left out of the inflation-busting pay rise for public sector workers. Teachers and doctors received the most significant rise at 3.1% and 2.8% respectively. Nurses described this as a ‘slap in the face’ having put their lives on the frontline during the pandemic so bravely.


The Treasury explains they did not rise nurse’s pay because there is already a settlement in place for over one million NHS workers. The three-year Agenda for Change pay deal, which sees the starting pay for a newly qualified nurse increased by over 12% since 2017/18. Figure 1 illustrates the different pay scales within nursing in the UK presently.

NHS Nurses Pay- Agenda for Change (pay increases within the Band depending on the number of years of experience) 

Band                    Pay


Band 1                    £18,005

Band 2                    £18,005 - £19,337

Band 3                    £19,337 - £21,142

Band 4                    £21,892 - £24,157

Band 5                    £24,907 - £30,615

Band 6                    £31,365 - £37,890

Band 7                    £38,890 - £44,503

Band 8A                 £45,753 - £51,668

Band 8B                 £53,168 - £62,001

Band 8C                 £63,751 - £73,664

Band 8D                 £75,914 - £87,754

Band 9                   £91,004 - £104,927

Figure 1 shows the salaries for various levels/bands within nursing.


Nursing Bands explained

NHS Nurses Pay- Agenda for Change (pay increases within the Band depending on the number of years of experience)

Band 5 is a newly qualified nurse. The starting point and lowest paid Band are band 5. You will gain experience as you get roles as a qualified nurse in the community or hospital settings and so pay will increase gradually with time. 

Band 6 is a Nursing Specialist or Senior Nurse – nursing duties and responsibilities as Band 5, however, more specialised, like an infection control nurse or a community nurse where you have taken further education and qualifications to specialise in an area of nursing.

Band 7 is an Advanced Nurse Practitioner – these roles require a master’s degree. As an Advanced Nurse Practitioner, you will prescribe certain medications and have much responsibility.

Band 8 is a Modern Matron or chief Nurse – Here, while you still carry out many nursing duties, you will head the nursing team and have proven management skills. Pay is increased substantially in Band 8 but so too are the commitment and responsibilities.

Band 9 is the top tier of nursing in the UK, a Consultant role. You will be an expert in Nursing and pay will reflect the additional study involved in this advisory position.

What pay rise have nurses received in the multi-year deal?

Many frontline nurses received just 1.65% in April this year which was the last rise of a multi-year pay deal. This meant the average net salary of a Band 5 nurse in the UK increased by just 7%. Also, the average nurse will receive approximately a 4.4% rise this year.

Recent research by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) discovered that many nurses are considering leaving the profession, and one reason is pay.

Demonstrations are now planned for most major cities in England.

Nursing staff and other allied health professionals are understandably disappointed and angry, at being excluded from the pay rise. Unions and workers are now arranging nationwide protests. While Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, argues that NHS workers have received a significant pay rise already, nurses and other healthcare frontline workers disagree with him.

Discussions need to take place with government and unions

The RCN, with 13 other health unions, have demanded that government ministers enter discussions on a fully-funded pay rise for NHS staff. Nurses and unions feel while public applaud is appreciated, fair and equal pay is expected also.


2020 celebrates the year of the nurse, and while nurses feel supported by the public, that support is lacking in government. We support our NHS workers and pride ourselves in recruiting some of the UK’s finest nurses. Register today to avail of our many excellent and rewarding careers. 

29 Jul 2020
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