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Understanding the NHS Nursing Banding System

Understanding the NHS Nursing Banding System

Jul 17, 2020.

NHS nurses are paid according to where they sit on the salary scale and how much experience they have, so we want to give you a complete insight into the NHS Nursing Banding System, job role responsibilities and of course, expected pay!

The NHS nursing banding system was created as part of the ‘Agenda for Change’ to ensure that there was a clear system for nursing pay scales guaranteeing that each NHS nursing role is met and justifiably paid to allow clear career progression for all.

As you’ll discover, the Bands start from 2 up to 9 and annual incremental pay increases are granted within each band. So, for all nurses working through the banding system, healthy pay increases are on offer as well as some other fantastic benefits, too – provided they keep up with the relevant training that allows them to move up a band. Once you hit the top band, you will only receive the annual government increases.

Band 2 – Healthcare Assistant

A Healthcare Assistant’s (HCA) provides a vital role within the NHS as they deliver the initial care to a variety of patients in an array of environments, from GP Surgeries, hospitals to care homes.

The work is varied but typically it includes looking after the physical comfort of patients, such as helping them wash, emptying bedpans, keeping departments clean and tidy, taking and recording basic observations, helping patients eat and being there to listen and talk. HCA’s are often the first point of contact for patients, so you will need to be friendly and have an interest in personal care to ensure they always feel comfortable.

Currently, the NHS Healthcare Assistant salary is around £15,000-£23,000 a year.

Band 3 – Emergency Care Assistant

As an Emergency Care Assistant (ECA) you’ll work with ambulance services responding to emergency calls. This role is extremely vital as the care you offer will potentially save a life. For example, you’ll control bleeding and resuscitating patients one day to treating severe wounds from traffic accidents the next.

As well as providing emergency care, ECA’s are also responsible for checking their vehicle at the start of and during each shift, to make sure they are clean, have fuel and are stocked with the right supplies.

Emergency care assistants typically earn between £17,000 and £22,500 per annum.

Band 4 – Theatre Support Worker

A Theatre Support Worker forms an integral part of the operating department team who supports the surgical team. This role makes you responsible for: moving patients on trolleys, reassuring family members, preparing patients for anaesthetics, setting out instruments and equipment needed for surgery, making sure the department has a full stock of items and cleaning theatre areas after surgery.

Theatre Support Workers typically earn between £21,000 and £24,000 per annum.

Band 5 – Newly Qualified Nurse or Staff Nurse

Newly Qualified Nurses often start in a hospital setting and then progress within a ward – gaining more experience as they move up within the NHS nursing banding system. Most wards have a clear career progression from the very start that helps you plan ahead for your training and qualifications.

Training opportunities are essential as they will not only help you to move up a band but provide you with the correct skillset to allow you to confidently complete your job role and provide the highest quality of care.

Staff Nurses are responsible for formulating a nursing care plan for their patients, administering said plan and delivering compassionate and high quality care for the duration of their patient’s stay. Staff Nurses will also be responsible for communicating effectively and working part as a close knit team.

To work as a Staff Nurse, you’ll need a diploma or degree in nursing as a formal qualification and additional skills needed are organisation, analytical and IT skills.

Depending on your level of experience, Band 5 nurses are paid between £22,000 and £28,500 per annum.

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Band 6 – Nursing Specialist or Senior Nurse

Band 6 often involves similar job responsibilities to Band 5, however, the core difference is that the nurse will be more specialised. Band 6 nurses are often called ‘Junior Sister’, ‘Specialist Staff Nurse’ or ‘Specialist Nurse Practitioner’. To exemplify, a nurse may choose to specialise in district nursing, intensive care or paediatrics.

To successfully progress onto Band 6 level, you’ll need to pursue further training within a specialist area. More often than not, the trust you work for will often provide funding or support for this.

Depending on experience, Band 6 nurses can expect a salary between £31,365 and £37,890 per annum.

Band 7 – Advanced Nurse / Nurse Practitioner

Band 7 roles most often require a Master’s level degree or equivalent. However, most trusts are often keen to support their nursing staff in attaining these qualifications. Often, nurses at this band are also known as ‘Senior Sisters’.

Within this level, the job responsibilities are a significant jump from Band 6. The most important responsibilities include their ability to conduct detailed assessments, make diagnoses and prescribe medicine to patients – responsibilities very similar to a doctor.

The above advanced skills require a lot of extra study and many years of experience but it’s definitely a popular career route for most nurses. Band 7 nurses, depending on experience, will receive a salary of £38,890 to £44,503 per annum.

Band 8 – Modern Matron, Chief or Head Nurse

Band 8a – This role requires nurses to still carry out many nursing duties, but they will also be responsible for managing large teams of staff. The salary range is significantly higher due to the increase in extra responsibility and the long hours associated with the role. The salary for Band 8a ranges from £45,753 to £51,668 per annum.

If a nurse wants to take on more responsibility such as Head of Education and Training then there will be an opportunity to move up to Band 8b of where the salary range increases from £53,168 to £62,001 per annum.

Band 8c/9 – Consultant Level Nurse or Director of Nursing

The final band is Band 8c/9 which is to work as a Consultant Nurse; to do so, you’ll need to be an expert within your field. This can only be evidenced through experience and study. Like Consultants in any other industry, Consultant Nurses will be tasked with helping to shape high-level decision-making.

Reaching this level will require a career-long pursuit of specialist skills and qualifications to supplement the vocational experience. Band 8c/9 nursing salaries start from £91,004 and go up to £104,927.

That concludes our guide to the NHS’ Nursing Banding system! If you have any questions or concerns, please do email us at and we will be happy to help. Alternatively, you can read our guide on how to gain full NMC Registration, required to work at Band 5 level.


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