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How the NHS will calculate your salary

  • December 09, 2019

There are several factors when an NHS hospital will decide on your pay; your job title, your years of experience and the hours you are contracted for. It is essential to note that each NHS Trust will interpret each pay scale slightly differently. So, if you have the same qualifications and the same amount of experience as a friend working at a different NHS hospital, your pay is likely to be different.

In this blog post we explore the different factors that will impact your pay and how to calculate your take-home pay each month.

1. Your Job Title

The salary scale you will be placed on will range depending on if you are a Foundation Doctor or equivalent, ST1/ST2/SHO or equivalent, Senior Registrar or equivalent, Specialty Doctor, Specialty Trainee or a Consultant. When you apply for an NHS job or sit an NHS interview, it is important to note which pay scale the NHS hospital will be using; this will help you determine roughly how much you will be paid.

FY2 – You will have a basic salary of £32,393. Your salary will increase for all additional and unsociable hours that you work.

Specialty Doctor – Your salary scale starts at £41,158 to £76,751 basic pay. As a Specialty Doctor your additional and sociable hours will be calculated into your final salary via the number of PA’s (Programmed Activities) that you do.

Specialty Trainee – On this scale, your basic salary will start at £37,935 and it will progress onto £51,069. Your basic salary will increase depending on the additional and unsociable hours that you work.

Consultants – Your salary scale starts at £82,096 and can increase up to £110,693 basic pay. As a Consultant, you can be paid for any additional duties you take on such as teaching or awards that you receive.

2. Years of Experience

Once you have established what salary scale you will be placed on, you will need to count your number of years’ experience solely within the specialty you are interviewing for. In order for all of your overseas experience to be recognised, you will need to evidence it to the NHS hospital who has offered you the post. This can sometimes be done via an incremental credit form.

For example, if you are a Consultant with 6 years of experience then the NHS hospital will put you on point 6 or 7 of the salary scale which will provide you with a basic salary of £89,850 a year, which is £5,054 a month after tax.

If you are a doctor who would like our advice on the average salary you can expect, email us at [email protected].

3. Your Contracted Hours

The basic NHS pay scale is based on a standard contract of 40 hours per week. As we have previously mentioned, the salary scale you will be placed on will differ depending on the hospital that has offered you the NHS job. For instance, if you are a Registrar with five years of experience, you could be placed on the Specialty Trainee scale or the Specialty Doctor scale.

Your salary can also be determined on which scale the hospital places you on. The old scale pre-2016, uses a banding system. Your basic salary will be set on an incremental scale and under normal circumstances you will be paid at the minimum incremental point on appointment to a new grade.

The typical NHS pay band you will receive, will be either:

Band 1A

For those working between 40 and 48 hours per week on average, most antisocially


Band 1B

For those working between 40 and 48 hours per week on average, moderately antisocially


The banding system means that as a result of the unsociable hours you will be working, you will receive a salary uplift of X%. For example, if you receive a basic salary of £44,000 a year and 1A banding, your salary will increase to £66,000 a year.

It is important to consider the area of medicine that you specialise in. If you are an Emergency Medicine doctor, then it is likely you will work over the standard 40 hours a week. Alternatively, if you are a Dermatology where most of your patient care is planned, you are likely to work around the standard 40 hours a week.

Please note, you can always increase your pay by working extra bank and locum shifts.

Calculating your final take-home pay

Once the NHS Trust has decided your salary, they should provide you with a clear break down including: your basic pay, your salary uplifts and your final annual salary.

To calculate your take home pay, please use The Money Saving Expert’s Income Calculator.

We also invite you to consider whether you will be opting into the NHS Pension Scheme as this will lower your monthly take home.


It is important to note that this blog post is just a guide, calculating an NHS salary can be complex and there are various factors involved. If you are unsure about your salary offered, please contact us or the BMA.

Relocation to the UK

If you are an international doctor who would like support in securing an NHS service post, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS post and on your journey to the UK today.

Are you a member of our Facebook Group? When you join IMG Advisor, you will join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs into the group every single day. We will also always be on hand to answer all your relocation queries.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 50 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS!

References (2019). BMA - Pay scales for junior doctors in England. [online] Available at: 

Originally Posted: 09/12/2019
Updated: 15/10/2020


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