How Much Do Permanent Nurses Get Paid?

Feb 22, 2021

How Much Do Permanent Nurses Get Paid?

Now, we all know that people don’t become nurses for the money! It’s a higher calling where kind-hearted souls (that’s you) choose to devote their lives to caring for others in need. But that’s not to say you shouldn’t be fairly compensated for all your hard work and effort. Even superheroes deserve to feel like they’re appreciated and valued. And even superheroes need to pay the bills.

Here, we’ve put together a summary of the pay rates for nurses working in the UK so you can make informed decisions, plan ahead and benchmark your pay with your colleagues.

What is the Average Salary for Permanent Nurses in the NHS? 

Our friends at the NHS have made it easy to quickly understand nurse pay rates. Back in 2018, the NHS Staff Council agreed on pay rates that covered almost all NHS staff, excluding doctors, dentists and senior management. This agreement, called Agenda for Change (or more formally the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service) sets out pay rates for three years.

Back to the stuff you really want to know (and the information that’s going to help you balance your budget or send you to the sun next summer). Nurse pay rates, as covered by the New Pay Deal, have nine pay bands and within each one there are different pay points, depending on years of experience. The theory goes that you enter a new job on the bottom rung of the pay point and then move up the chain each year.

But, once you reach the top of the pay band you’re hitting a ceiling, so you’ll need to apply for a new position with a higher pay band to get some more pounds in your purse. Of course, inflation will apply, but if you want to make major leaps forward in your nursing salary, you might need to take on more responsibilities and possibly training or further qualifications.

As an example, a newly-qualified nurse will enter the workforce as Band 5, which currently starts at £24,907 (at the time of writing). A charge nurse is typically at Band 6 and can earn between £31,365 and £37,890 a year while a matron (in Band 8) will earn upwards of £45,753

Current Salary Ranges for NHS Pay Bands

See the NHS website to learn more about the salary ranges, including the specific job titles that fall within each pay band. 

If you’re a nurse in London, there’s a loading supplement to help you cover the extra costs of the capital, with nurses getting paid up to an additional 20% of their basic salary. If you want to read more about the high cost area supplements, visit the NHS website. 

Of course, the dosh is far from the only benefit of being a permanent nurse with the NHS. You should think seriously about the other perks offered as part of the overall package. For example, there are generous pension schemes, more annual leave than most private institutions, paid parental leave and opportunities to study while working (all big pluses for many nurses).

What are the Pay Rates for Nurses in the Private Sector? 

Private nursing salaries aren’t regulated so it’s up to the hospital, nursing home or clinic to determine how they want to structure their base pay and benefits. On the whole, private nurses can expect to see slightly higher pay rates (hooray!) but some of the benefits available in the NHS won’t be offered in private settings (boo!).

At the same time, a major perk of working in the private sector is often the work environment. Hey, we’re all different! Some nurses say that private hospitals have more staff than NHS care settings, so they aren’t as stressed or stretched during their shifts. Others say they are less likely to work unsociable hours. Many people also enjoy being part of a smaller organisation, which can have both its pros and cons.


When all’s said and done, the choice between working as a nurse with the NHS or a private organisation might come down to a balance between base salary, extra perks and the working environment. Your best bet is to know your options and pinpoint what matters to you – that’s what will help you plan out your career moves (and your budget).

Either way, the team at WESolutions can talk you through your next step. As a specialist nursing agency, we’ll find the role that best suits you and, ultimately, ensure you’re paid the pounds and pennies you deserve! Reach out to us today to get going.