Blogs > Life in the UK / Useful Information

Your NHS Salary

  • September 17, 2018

Every week we see many doctors begin their career within the NHS, joining hospitals all over the UK.

In today’s post, we provide you with our top tips on how to manage your finances after relocating to the UK. If you have any questions regarding any of our tips, please email [email protected] and we will be happy to advise you.

Disclaimer – we are not a financial advisory firm and the tips below our just our tips from experience with working with IMGs.

1. Work out how much you will get on your first payday

Knowing how much to expect in your monthly salary payment is essential. This will help you plan your monthly outgoings, such as rent, council tax, food – this will allow you to know what you can spend on recreational activities and what you can afford to save for the future.

Please note that there are various apps available on smart phones that allow you to calculate your monthly salary – try searching “Salary Calculator” in your app store.

There are also apps to guide you on your expenditure and it calculates how much you can afford to save each month. Try this link for a full list.

2. Understand the UK tax system

Before you receive your first paycheck it is important to understand how UK income tax works.       

How does it work?

Each UK citizen has a “personal allowance” which denotes the amount we can earn without paying any income tax. If you earn more than your personal allowance, then you pay tax at the applicable rate on all earnings above the personal allowance, but the allo wance remains untaxed.

What is my personal allowance?

Earning bracket

Personal allowance

Under £100,000


£100,000 to £123,700

Decreased from £11,850 by £1 for every £2 you earn, until it reaches £0

Over £123,700


What income tax band am I in?

Once you know your personal allowance, anything extra earned will be subject to income tax. For 2018/19 tax year, if you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, there are three marginal income tax bands – at the 20% basic rate, the 40% higher rate and the 45% additional rate bracket (remember your personal allowance starts to shrink once earnings hit £100,000).

If you live in Scotland, there are five marginal income tax bands from the 2018/19 tax year - the starter rate of 19%, the 20% basic rate, the 21% intermediate rate, the 41% higher rate, and the 46% additional rate.

Earnings (England, Wales or NI)

2018/2019 Rate

Under your personal allowance
For most, £11,850

No income tax payable

Between PA and PA+£34,500 (basic rate)
For most, £11,850 to £46,350


Between PA+£34,500 and £150,000 (higher rate)
For most, £46,350 to £150,000


Over £150,000 (additional rate)


Example monthly take home for a doctor’s salary


Basic Salary

Basic Salary after tax

Monthly take home









Specialist Training




Speciality Doctors












NB: Basic salary does not include any uplifts, banding or additional PA’s.

To work out your monthly take home for your specific salary please visit this site.

You should also note that there is a further opportunity to increase your salary either through Bank Staff work or agency Locum work. Please visit our article on this matter for further information.

National Insurance

Please note that you will also have to pay National Insurance along with your tax. 

How much will I pay?

Your pay Class 1 National Insurance rate
£162 to £892 a week (£702 to £3,863 a month) 12%
Over £892 a week (£3,863 a month) 2%

How do I pay?

Your National Insurance contribution will be taken from your wages before you are paid and your payslip will show your contributions.

NHS Pension

You will also be entitled to contribute to your pension via the NHS Pension Scheme. Within this scheme both you and your employer will contibute to your pension at different tiers depending on your pay. 

How much will I contribute?

Tier  Pensionable Pay (whole-time equivalent) Contribution Rate from 
2015/16 to 2018/19
 1  Up to £15,431.99   5.0%
 2  £15,432.00 to £21,477.99  5.6%
  £21,478.00 to £26,823.99   7.1%
 4  £26,824.00 to £47,845.99  9.3%
 5  £47,846.00 to £70,630.99  12.5%
 £70,631.00 to £111,376.99   13.5%
 £111,377.00 and over   14.5%

3. Boost your income

There are two ways to boost your income once you have started your new position.

  1. NHS staff bank – each Trust has an NHS staff bank that contracts healthcare professionals to take on extra shifts at the hospital. This option allows you to pick up extra shifts within your own hospital, whenever it is convenient for you. Please note, if you are on a Tier 2 visa – there will be no restrictions on the number of bank shifts you can take up. You will be paid monthly, along with your salary for any additional bank shifts that you cover.
  2. Agency locum work – alternatively, you may choose to take up temporary work via a medical recruitment agency that provides locum work for doctors. The agency will work with various hospitals across the UK and they will help you find temporary work. Agency locum work offers a higher rate of pay compared to bank staff rates, however, on a Tier 2 visa you are limited to working up to 20 hours per week and it is likely you will have to travel to another hospital.

4. Plan your career progression – medical exams are expensive so make sure you factor these fees in

Junior doctors face a number of expenses at the beginning stages of their careers. If you are a junior doctor who plans to specialise then you will need full Royal College Membership. The prices vary depending on the Royal College, so it is important that you factor in the cost of the exam fees as they are essential for your career progression.

5. Don’t forget other costs

The process of relocating to the UK can be very costly, from paying for PLAB, IELTS, GMC Registration, your visa application, flights and airport transfers – but often, doctors forget about costs they will incur after they have started their position.

For further information on how much it costs to relocate to the UK please visit our blog.

These fees include revalidating your GMC licence, British Medical Association fees and your medical indemnity cover fees.

Thank you for reading our post.

If you are an IMG who is interested in relocating to the UK and working within the NHS please register your CV on our website and we will be in touch about available positions.

Join our Facebook Group IMG Advisor – get frequent access to relocation blogs, the opportunity to ask questions and receive professional advice and the chance to meet other IMGs!


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