June 2018
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Are nurses really underpaid angels?

(Monday blog – slight change of subject from the usual)

Today I’m going to commit heresy (yet again). Today I’m going to suggest that nurses are actually rather well paid.

We’re all constantly being told by the mainstream media that nurses are horribly underpaid angels sacrificing themselves selflessly for our health.

At least, that’s what I believed and thought till I did a bit of research yesterday for a new book I’m writing. Then I got a bit of a shock.

Nursing is really quite well paid. In fact, maybe it’s very well paid?

I admit I don’t know the differences between the different levels in nursing. But here’s what I think I found out:

There are quite low salaries for ‘nurses’ in pay bands 1 to 4. But these are mainly healthcare assistants rather than qualified nurses with diplomas or degrees. Qualified nurses seem to start at ‘Band 5’.

(The list below comes from the Royal College of Nursing website – so they’re not figures that I’ve made up or misunderstood)

Staff nurses – this is the initial grade of a qualified nurse, and will be at a Band 5 salary which is £22,128 to £28,746

Senior staff nurses – these are more experienced nurses, and are likely to be at a Band 6 salary which is £26,565 to £35,577.

Deputy ward manager – starting at a Band 6/7 salary, this position brings with it more responsibility for the overall daily running of the ward, salary £27,565 to £41,787

Ward manager – this nurse has control of the budget of the ward, and is responsible for local management. This position usually starts at Band 7, salary £31,686 to £41,787

Senior ward manager – in larger wards there may be a need to have multiple managers, with one senior. This is usually paid between Bands 6-8c, salary £26,565 to £69,168

The top salary for a nurse seems to be something called ‘Band 9’, obviously quite a senior position, with a salary of £79,415 to £100,431. Let me repeat that – with a salary of £79,415 to £100,431. I thought salaries of over £100k were what surgeons got after 6 or 7 years of a tough slog through medical school. I didn’t realise that a top nurse – basically an administrator or penpusher – could also pocket a six-figure salary.

These salaries are, of course, before overtime and all kinds of special shift allowances.

I found this quite interesting and it disabused me of the idea that our nurses are terribly exploited by being forced to work in a cash-starved NHS for subsistence-level salaries.

We’re always being told by the mainstream media that the reason for the NHS’s financial difficulties is that old people are living for far too long. And the sooner the greedy baby-boomer generation, who have worked and paid taxes all their lives, die the better it will be for everybody. What’s never mentioned is whether uncontrolled immigration – millions of gimmegrants grabbing all the free stuff they can – might be overburdening our NHS.

Nor does anyone in the mainstream media ever dare suggest that it’s the extremely high salaries of nurses, doctors and NHS managers which are bankrupting the NHS and not Britain’s baby-boomer pensioners who are probably more active, more mentally alert and healthier than any previous generation of pensioners.

Perhaps some readers might also find the above salary figures as surprising as I did?

(readers can leave comments by clicking on the title of each blog)

11 comments to Are nurses really underpaid angels?

  • Nom

    If you ever have to visit the maternity wards at the Wittington in north London the nurses or aome of the are tyrants whilst at other hospitals they are indeed angels.

  • Gloria

    Having recently spent a couple of weeks in hospital I came out somewhat more enlightened about nurses and their pay…..true the hours are, obviously, unsocial at times but most were on at least £33k…….and I soon became aware that whilst there were some ‘angels’, most were just doing a job, however, I encountered a few real nasty examples that should never have been allowed to enter the profession. Nurses are riding a wave of sympathetic popularity based on poor pay rates of 20 – 30 years ago.

  • Nom

    Great comment Gloria. I noted sone at the Wittington eating food off the trolleys and not allowing the patients to have seconds, they were rude to visitors , lazy and unhelpful whilst some couldn’t do enough. How they remained in post could be down to the race card but my memories of the Wittington and I know others memories of it are tainted due to these bullies.

  • Paul

    There are at least two things that are never mentioned.

    1) Automatic increments. “Pay rises” mean changes in the same band, but the public sector keeps very quiet about it’s automatic increments, to get these you have to basically be not dead.

    2) Pensions. Largely unfunded, these are equivalent to a significant salary boost, at least 15% and more.

  • twi5ted

    Also add final salary pensions, lots of leave and other family friendly policies.

    But what the doctors earn would be interesting as well.

    And how this has all grown over the past 20 years since the spending taps were unleashed. I would expect the wage bill for the NHS to have far exceeded inflation during that time.

  • MARK

    Not to mention the pensions obligation that the poor tax payer is on the hook for.

  • Stillreading

    It’s inevitable that there are bad (incompetent or bullying) nurses, just as there are excellent, caring nurses and that because of the national pay scales, all will be equally remunerated. The problem started some years ago when nursing became a degree profession, meaning that aspiring nurses spend 3 years in a classroom before truly encountering a patient, with all that implies in terms of pus, body fluids, pain and unpleasant odours! Now, having degrees, unfortunately a significant number of nurses take the view that dealing with the less salubrious aspects of their profession is beneath their skill level. Consequently the Health Care Assistants step in – and excellent many of them are with nothing more than an NVQ or two to their names!
    Ever more erstwhile doctors’ tasks – certain diagnoses, minor surgery, drug prescribing – are now being taken over by nurses, a Gvt. instigated way of cost cutting and reducing the number of doctors needed. There are insufficient new doctors coming through the system and many head straight for an airport after qualifying in order to enjoy far better working conditions in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, where they don’t even need to master a different language.
    The pay some health professionalsreceive for the responsibilities they assume is almost derisory. It is not uncommon for a midwife for example, on around £30K, to deliver a baby single-handed in the mother’s home, because a second midwife is either just not available or cannot navigate the country’s grid-locked road system in time. Childbirth, even with a healthy mother and a straightforward pregnancy, can go wrong at any moment and then the midwife is in, literally, a second-by-second mother and baby life or death crisis. If anything goes wrong in such cases, you can bet your life the parents will want to sue. The NHS will suffer financially (or the relevant trust will) but the midwife will suffer professionally and personally. In the meantime, the desk-bound “Managers”, those who decree how many (or how few) clinical staff are required, continue to impose ever more arduous working conditions on the clinical staff. As for newly qualified doctors, despite the European regulation on maximum working hours – well, somehow the managers get around that as well and just remember, if you turn up in A & E having a heart attack, a stroke, or following an accident, the very first doctor you see may be coming to the end of a 24 hour stint with, if he/she was lucky, 2 or 3 hours of sleep, snatched in 15 minute episodes.

  • Mr J G Fields

    Mr Craig, I am glad that you have changed your subject
    matter, for the time being. The most important point for
    17.4 million people is; we are being blatantly betrayed
    with Brexit, by Mrs May,the government, most M P’s and the Lords. The referendum used the first past the post
    system just like voting for MP’s. The referendum was
    given to us by Mr Cameron’s government endorsed by MP’s
    on both sides of the House. It was completely legal.
    What went wrong? Simple. The people gave the wrong
    answer.It is a good thing to remind MP’s that in a
    democracy the people are paramount, not them nor the
    unelected Lords. The Lord’s have shown their contempt
    for the people’s democratic decision, so now is an ideal
    time for their abolition.

  • Fiat

    A Different Subject..one that will affect us all hugely in the next few years.

    “Combined, the largest 50 countries in the world owe nearly $65 trillion. That is a staggering 90% of their combined GDPs! Such a figure is unprecedented. The majority of the 50 largest economies in the world have sovereign debt over 50% of GDP and eight have debt over 100% of GDP including two of the three largest economies in the world: the US and Japan.

    Japan, Greece, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Cyprus, the US, and Spain all have debts larger than their economies.”
    Debt per capita in the UK over £30000 each.

    Of course our Govt. doesn’t talk about the most pressing problem in a generation,it will bite with a vengeance the likes of which no one alive today has ever seen.
    Unpayable DEBT..


  • Julia Green

    And what about agency rates, because our home grown little luvs coming out of University don’t want to do messy jobs?

  • Peter Hardwick

    I agree with Fiat,such levels of debt will eventually come back to bite us,they can not be wished away. How soon is the kickback likely to be? Who knows but be prepared.

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