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The United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS)

The National Health Service (NHS) is an entirely free public health system set up in the late 1940's to meet the health needs of the entire UK population, in delivering excellence of care as well as free and equal access to all.

The National Health Service (NHS) is the largest single employer within the UK, employing over a million people, which amounts to approximately 5% of the UK working population.

The majority of the UK Public uses the NHS versus the private hospital system.

The NHS is funded through the tax system and every working individual is required to contribute to the NHS system through paying taxes which is directly apportioned to their level of income. The NHS's infrastructure is able to provide the full spectrum of health services to the public from acute emergency care, research and development through to primary care services which provide ongoing community care.

The NHS is a leader in many clinical fields in research and development with nurses often taking a lead role in developing evidence based best practice methods. NHS Trusts are teaching hospitals and are attached to universities where by staff are encouraged to further develop their post graduate training through specialist courses.

NHS Salary and NHS Nursing Grading System


The NHS (National Health Service) has its own unique grading system where all health professionals including nurses are graded according to their level of qualifications and experience.

The Grading system for registered nurses in the UK NHS is as follows:
  • D Grade for newly qualified staff registered Nurses.
  • E Grade is for experienced staff with usually one to two years experience in the specific specialty area they are working
  • F Grade are also known as senior staff nurses and are regularly in charge of shifts. F grades also usually have specific post graduate education and training in order to apply for this position.
  • G Grade are also Known as Sister or Charge Nurses with a major component of their job involving management skills as well as being clinical specialists in the areas they are managing.
  • H Grade also known as Lead Managers and usually manage more than one department or ward and are responsible on a directorate level for many aspects of their directorate's performance management.
  • I Grade also known as Modern Matrons and their primary focus is management with a clinical focus and are usually specialist nurse who have both vast clinical and managerial experience in their specific specialty.
  • ODP is an operating Department Practitioner who has either Stand Alone NHS Approved Qualification as an Operating Department Practitioner or is a Registered Nurse who has studied a post graduate course to obtain this qualification. ODPs are graded as F Grades or Higher within the NHS.
*A to C Grade is a classification for health care workers who do not qualify as Registered Nurses or Midwives as they have not completed an NMC approved three year Nursing/ Midwifery Hospital Training Programme or Nursing University Bachelor/Diploma. They are often referred to as Health Care Assistants and Assistants in Nursing and provide a vital support role in wards and Departments throughout both the NHS and United Kingdom private hospital system.

Each Grade has four to five incremental points which are indexed on an annual basis. To apply for the next Grade (e.g. from E to F grade) of the NHS Pay scale, you will usually be required to place an application and attend an interview. If you would like to go to www.geniushealth.com/info/nhs-pay/nursing-pay-rates.html you will see an example of the present Salary and allowances for nurses working within the NHS. Overtime, nights shifts, afternoon shifts, weekend shifts and all other unsocialable hours will be additional to your base salary and is exclusive of all other allowances and bonuses.

Please note that the NHS pay system is being re-structured. This new pay scale system called "Agenda for Change" proposes the use of a band system (e.g. Band 6 is equivalent to a present F Grade position), which when fully implemented will replace the present A-H Graded system. GeniusHealth will keep you up to date on these changes as only select NHS hospital Trusts in the UK are presently piloting this system and a national roll out date has not been finalised for all NHS Trusts. GeniusHealth will inform you of these changes should they affect you.

The NHS supports Nurses and Midwives who have taken career breaks for various reasons and will provide the training and education to allow them to re-enter the NHS workforce. Email GeniusHealth with your resume and query as to how we can assist you in this area.

NHS Pay scale Nursing Allowances:

There are two main allowances that nurses who have London nursing jobs are entitled to and which are referred to as the London Nurses Living Allowance and the NHS Cost of Living Allowance.

London Nurses Living Allowance:

This is a specific allowance to Nurses who have nursing jobs in London and outer London NHS Trusts. The London Living allowance is in addition to nurses Graded salary and the same amount is paid to all nursing staff from A Grade to I Grade and the amounts differ according to the particular NHS trust's proximity to central London and is as follows.

Inner London
Central London Nursing jobs - grades A to I and consultant grade posts - 3,441 pa

Outer London
Outer London Nursing Jobs - grades A to I and consultant grade posts - 2,688 pa

Fringe Zone
London Fringe Nursing jobs - grades A to I and consultant grade posts - 753

See www.geniushealth.com/info/nhs-pay/nursing-pay-rates.html for a working example of this allowance.

NHS London Cost of Living Allowance

The cost of Living allowance is calculated on the annual base salary of nurses grade C and above who have nursing positions in London and the South East of the United Kingdom (UK). This allowance is calculated at 4% of the base salary for central London Nursing jobs and is capped at 1000.Outer London Nursing jobs are allocated 2.5% of their annual base salary and this allowance is capped at 600.

See www.geniushealth.com/info/nhs-pay/nursing-pay-rates.html for a working example of this allowance.

Other NHS Nursing Benefits:

The NHS provides benefits and bonuses to its entire staff including the following:

The NHS Pension Plan

The NHS has a very good pension scheme and all NHS staff are eligible for all NHS Pension entitlements. The main benefit of the NHS Pension Scheme is a 'final salary' pension and the tax-free lump sum on retirement of three times your pension entitlement.

The NHS Pension scheme is contributory, you make payments towards it from your own salary of 6% but the actual cost after tax relief and reduced National Insurance contributions is about 3.5%. The NHS then contributes an additional 14% making the total package worth around 20% of pay.

NHS Holiday pay and other benefits:

  • A minimum 4 weeks annual leave increasing with length of service
  • Paid sick leave increasing with length of service
  • Occupational health and counselling services
  • A range of other employment benefits are available and vary according to individual NHS trusts and include subsidised onsite childcare, gym/pool facilities and discounted membership, and social clubs.



Nursing Jobs in London and UK

Nursing Job Vacancies

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An experienced Cardiothoracic nurse, is required as a Practice Educator at one of the worlds renowned Cardio-thoracic Hospitals.  You will be required...