• 12 May 2020
  • 3 min read

What's the typical starting wage for a Nurse in the UK in 2020?

  • Matt Farrah
    Nurses.co.uk Co-Founder
"As of April 2020 (the beginning of the financial year), the salary has increased again for newly qualified Nurses."

With the NHS ‘Agenda for Change’ New Pay Deal now in its 3rd year, we take a look at the new starting wage for newly qualified nurses, and compare the NHS to the private sector.

Topics covered in this article

The typical starting wage for a NHS nurse in the UK in 2020

When do NHS Nurses get a pay rise?

What’s the starting wage in the private sector?

Agency and bank pay

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The typical starting wage for a NHS nurse in the UK in 2020

The new starting wage for an NHS Nurse as of April 2020 is £24,907 a year – which is a Band 5 salary.

As a result of the NHS Agenda for Change pay scales that were introduced in 2018, an NHS Nurse’s starting salary increased every year for the subsequent three years.

Now, as of April 2020 (the beginning of the financial year), that salary has increased again for newly qualified Nurses.

That’s the minimum and does not include any allowances or location weighting.

When do NHS Nurses get a pay rise?

The way the most recent pay plans were structured have meant that NHS Nurses get their incremental pay rise every April.

The last pay deal began in April 2018 and was set for three years.

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A new deal is expected to be announced at some point in 2020, to determine exactly how much of a pay increase Nurses can expect in the coming years.

In April 2020, the pay rise for NHS Nurses is approximately 1.7% if you’re at the top of your banding.

What’s the starting wage in the private sector?

Newly qualified, NMC registered Nurses can actually start their careers in the private sector too.

Here, the starting salary is more difficult to pin down because pay in the private sector is unregulated.

But some anecdotal reports suggest it can offer a slightly higher starting salary.

Barchester Healthcare, for example, is one of the biggest private providers of nursing and residential care services in the UK – and tends to offer a starting salary that’s slightly higher than the NHS equivalent.

The vast majority of newly qualified Nurses start their careers within the NHS, so private providers probably have to offer a little more money to grab their attention.

However, it’s by no means a certainty that your starting salary will be higher in the private sector.

Other considerations are important too.

Benefits in the NHS are renowned for being excellent and rarely matched by private jobs.

But, private positions normally offer more flexibility and a lower Nurse to patient ratio.

So, when considering where you’ll work as a Nurse, think about the kind of life you want to lead – not just pay.

Agency and bank pay

Meanwhile, many other Nurses choose to work via an agency or through a trust’s bank.

Not only does this offer lots of flexibility, but it can offer much higher daily rates of pay.

But without the benefits and security of a full-time position, the key to success as a bank or agency Nurse is finding work consistently.

Broadly speaking, that makes it a better choice when you’ve already gained some experience first.

Ultimately, nursing pay is enormously varied depending on experience, where you work and what you choose to specialise in.

But undoubtedly, there’s a growing consensus nationally that Nurses have never been more important – and should earn a salary that reflects that.

Start your job search today

To get an idea of what positions are available in your area and how much you would earn, browse our latest jobs here.

And for a detailed breakdown of how NHS salary bandings work, or to access our NHS pay calculator, head here.

About the author

  • Matt Farrah
    Nurses.co.uk Co-Founder

I studied English before moving into publishing in the mid 90s. I co-founded Nurses.co.uk in 2008. I’m interested in providing a platform that gives a voice to nurses and those working in care and nursing. I'm fascinated by the career choices we make. In the case of those working in care I've discovered that there's a positive, life-affirming common theme: they do it for love not money.

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  • Matt Farrah
    Nurses.co.uk Co-Founder

About the author

  • Matt Farrah
    Nurses.co.uk Co-Founder

I studied English before moving into publishing in the mid 90s. I co-founded Nurses.co.uk in 2008. I’m interested in providing a platform that gives a voice to nurses and those working in care and nursing. I'm fascinated by the career choices we make. In the case of those working in care I've discovered that there's a positive, life-affirming common theme: they do it for love not money.