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NHS Pay Scales explained

  • October 15, 2020

NHS Pay Circulars can be incredibly confusing, especially if you're a Doctor who hasn't worked in the NHS before. This Blog aims to describe the possible pay scales that will most commonly be encountered.

First and foremost, the salary scale in use will be pre-determined and set out in the job description. If you don’t have this, then request it and find out which scale the trust intend to use.

The New Junior Doctor Pay Scale (Basic Salary + Rota Uplifts)

This pay circular covers the following Grades and there are seperate basic salaries for each: 

  • FY1
  • FY2
  • CT1/2 or ST1/2
  • ST3+

The basic salary covers 40 hours per week however you will then receive ‘uplifts’ according to any evening, night and weekend hours or on-calls that you are asked to do. Each role will carry it’s own rota and the exact breakdown of hours will determine the uplifts.

Total Salary = Basic Pay + Additional Hours + Night Rate + Weekend Allowance

As you can see, this scale is fair as you are paid according to the hours that you work.

Banding Pay Scale (Basic Salary + Banding)

Within this pay scale, basic salary is calculated based on your years of experience at the grade on offer. The Trust are likely to only consider experience relevant to the grade of post on offer (e.g. they won’t recognize internship or junior experience for a registrar level post) and will want to see references or experience certificates to back this up.

Banding is usually 1A (50%) or 1B (40%) according to how busy the rota will be. The basic salary is based on 40 hours per week and an uplift of 50% on top of that basic salary will be assigned if the role contains between 40 and 48 hours per week on average, mostly at antisocial hours. Equally, a 40% uplift will be added to the basic if the role contains between 40-48 hours per week but only moderately at antisocial hours.

Total Salary = Basic Pay + (% supplement x Basic Bay)

Speciality Doctor Pay Scale

This pay scale is relatively simple to calculate as it is based on years of experience. The scale does not acknowledge internship or SHO level work so, whilst some Trusts may consider it, you should expect that thee is normally a discount of four years (FY1, FY2, ST1, ST2).

Additional PAs are used to calculate any uplifts on basic salary. A programmed activity (PA) is a 4 hour amount of work so a normal week (40 hours) contains 10 PAs and each additional PA carries a 10% uplift on basic salary (e.g. 48 hours would be denoted as 12 PAs therefore 20% on top of your basic salary)

Total Salary = Basic Pay + Additional PA’s

Consultant Pay Scale

In exactly the same way as the Speciality Doctor scale, Consultant scales are calculated based on your years of experience. That said, the scale only acknowledges years of experience held as a Consultant. 

Again, additional PAs (each PA being worth 4 hours) are used to calculate any additional hours and therefore any uplift on basic salary. A 10 PA contract is basic salary alone and each additional PA carries a 10% uplift on this (e.g. 48 hours would be denoted at 12 PAs therefore 20% on top of basic salary

Total Salary – Basic Pay + Additional PA’s 

Calculating your Salary

To calculate your exact salary, or estimate what your salary may be if working within the NHS, take a look at the latest NHS Pay Circular which outlines the exact salaries corresponding to each year of experience. To do so, click here.



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