December 2022
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Are our ‘angelic’ nurses really underpaid?

weekend blog

The BBC and most of the mainstream media tell us that our ‘angelic’ nurses are so badly paid that some are having to rely on food banks to survive. So, let’s test this latest nonsense from the worthless, UK-hating, biased, woke, progressive, transgender-hugging, migrant-adoring, climate-catastrophist, Tory-loathing national broadcaster and other mainstream media.

There are two issues we need to look at

  • are nurses actually poorly-paid?
  • has their pay really fallen behind inflation
Are nurses underpaid?

From the figures I’ve found it looks like a newly-qualified nurse earns a minimum of £27,055. I guess I may be out of touch, but a starting salary of over £27,000 for someone newly-qualified with no work experience seems pretty generous to me. Moreover, the average pay for a nurse stands at £33,384, according to the NHS and estimates by the RCN (Royal College of Nursing).

I’m sorry, but I have difficulty believing that someone being paid £27,055 in their first job needs to use a food bank to survive. Similarly, I really struggle to accept that the average nurse on £33,384 really is on the brink of starvation.

But the salaries I quote here are just for the lowest level of nurses. A senior nurse can expect to earn anywhere between £33,706 and £40,588. Specialist nurses can start off earning £41,659 but can command up to £47,672 as a maximum:

Salaries for nurses varies widely depending on experience and expertise. (Yahoo News)

A chief nurse can earn as much as £91,787. I doubt many of them are queuing up at their local food bank.

Has nurses’ pay fallen behind inflation?

One issue the BBC and all our other media ‘experts’ forget to mention is that nurses have several pay bands from Band 5 for a newly-qualified nurse to Band 8 for a chief nurse. But within each band, a nurse’s salary will increase each year until they reach the top of their pay band. This means that many nurses are receiving automatic salary increases for each year they work. Though, once nurses reach the top of their banding, they will only receive annual government increases unless they move into a higher band.

The NHS pay review body has recommended a £1,400 pay rise for nurses. This would represent a 4% pay rise for the average Band 5 nurse. Yes, this is below inflation. But remember, many nurses are also getting an automatic pay rise for each year they work in their band up to the maximum of that band. So, while it is true that the current 4% offer is considerably below this years’ exceptionally high inflation of over 10%, it’s not clear that most nurses’ salaries have actually fallen behind inflation over the last few years of exceptionally low inflation.

Yet our nurses seem to be claiming they are on starvation wages and need 15% or 17% or whatever to survive.

Heating vs eating?

Given the above figures, I am lightyears away from being convinced that our angelic nurses are underpaid. Moreover, I suspect that during the last few years of unusually low inflation, nurses’ salaries have comfortably exceeded average price inflation. Though this is something the media choose not to mention.

As for the claim that many nurses are forced to choose between heating and eating because they are so poorly paid. If nurses really are having to make this choice (something I doubt is true), from the gravitationally-challenged nurses I’ve seen waddling around the last time I was in a hospital, I imagine most have chosen the latter.

12 comments to Are our ‘angelic’ nurses really underpaid?

  • Stillreading

    Based on the pay scales which anyone can reference, the assumption can easily be made that even newly qualified nurses are reasonably well paid. One must however take into account that since the idiotic decision was made (I forget under which Government) to make nursing a 3 year degree course, subject to the same tuition fees as any other degree course, from the start a newly qualified nurse is paying back those tuition fees out of earned income. Additionally there are debts incurred for living costs where parents have been unwilling or unable to offer support during those 3 years. When I had clinical involvement with the NHS five decades ago, Student Nurses were paid, usually lived in Hospital accommodation and worked alternate “blocks” of some weeks at a time, either in the Nursing School, learning the ethics and science of their profession, or on the wards, learning from Sister the practicalities of patient treatment and handling. These students were, of course, being young and enthusiastic, physically strong and agile, an invaluable human resource on the wards. Transport and parking costs, particularly the latter, are another challenge for nurses. Since shift work is involved, shifts starting or finishing at times when public transport is unavailable and when it is, frankly, unsafe for women to walk the streets alone, nurses must be car owners, and the privatisation for maximum profit of hospital car parks, grievous as it is for patients facing repeated visits, is infinitely worse for nurses. A substantial part of a nurse’s salary is deducted at source for the privilege of getting to work in a car, a car without which getting there at all would be impossible. The hospital “admin” wasters, wedded to their chairs and screens and never having sight of a patient, are merciless. A midwife I know well who delivers mothers’ babies in their homes, recently detected that all was not right with a labouring woman, explained that for a safe delivery she would need to go to hospital, and called an ambulance. Astonishingly, it actually turned up promptly. Feeling responsibility for her mother and being a caring midwife of the old school, followed the ambulance to the hospital, in order to monitor her admission and explain to the hospital team what the problem was. When she arrived, the Staff car park was full so she parked her car in the patient parking area, with her “Midwife Attending” car windscreen label clearly displayed. Admission of the patient, saying goodbye to her, reassuring her that she was in good hands, took about 30 minutes, and when the midwife returned to her car it had been clamped. She went to the admin office and explained the situation, but the jobsworth in the office was intransigent, demanding a release fee of £40, cash only, cards not acceptable. This was around 4.30 in the afternoon. The nearest cash point was a walk of almost a mile. THAT is how that “body” we know as the NHS treats its valuable clinical staff. Is it any wonder they are fed up and demanding more pay? Boris and his hypocritical weekly pot-banging and handclapping meant nothing, means nothing when in practical terms nurses are treated with contempt while money is found for “Diversity Managers” and suchlike. The fact is that there are already insufficient nurses on the regular staff of the NHS. Many have already quit, either to do other work entirely, work less stressful and demanding, or to work as Agency nurses – better pay, choose when and where you work. I asked a hospital doctor recently what will happen if the nurses don’t get a reasonable pay rise and was told, “They’ll just leave. They are already. The situation is dire.”

  • Paul Chambers

    Starting salary of £27k even allowing for 5% final salary pension contribution leaves monthly take home pay of £1752. Leave is also generous. That presumably is for a fairly young person maybe early 20s.

    Some will be living at home or sharing. But in most of the country should be possible to rent your own flat and cover all the bills for around £1kpm. Maybe £1.2k around london although they would receive extra large city allowance.

    So there is no way a qualified nurse can be starving. Its just union posturing and of course pushing on the media open door who never question this stuff.

    Sadly this pay is really quite good compared to a lot of other similar young people. The reality is open door immigration policies have driven down wages for all working people. And the unions fully support these policies.

    The NHS is of course busy recruiting around the world to benefit from all that “cheap” labour. Executives can then pay themselves big bonuses for making short term cost savings whilst bleating to the BBC.

    But of course as we are all too aware the costs of open door immigration and the burden placed on society is huge. Whilst globalist politicians hide behind gross gdp growth pro rata we all get poorer and poorer as taxes go higher and society slowly fails to work.

  • A Thorpe

    When I started work in 1969 in London after my master’s degree, I was paid £1755 including London allowance. A year later I bought my first property for about £6,000. Compare the nurses’ salary with the lowest property prices in London and they will not be able to get on the property ladder. This applies to many young people now. How are young people supposed to start a family life when property prices are beyond their reach? In cities it is shoe box size flats which are not appropriate for families. It is easy to see why nurses and others are wanting salary increases. Now the politicians are talking about a cost-of-living crisis, but this has been developing for decades and it is entirely of their making.

    From what I have seen of nurses in private hospitals recently for minor surgery, they don’t do much and don’t seem to be well informed. In intensive care and operating theatres, it is perhaps different. They can go on strike because they have a union but only about 25% of UK workers belong to unions and they are probably already higher paid than the private sector. It seems that we are going back to the days of Scargill where unions want to bring down a government. I think that the unions have a roll over working conditions, but they should not be involved with pay negotiations. State controlled businesses are a disaster for workers and those needing their services. In fact, government interference in our live is the real cause of all our problems. It is time the state workers demanded privatisation, but they won’t because it is an easier life, and they know that they can hold the government and taxpayers to ransom.

    Where were the nurses and doctors at the start of the pandemic? None of them were warning us about the dangers of experimental, untested vaccines. None of them cared about preventing people seeing their families in hospitals and care homes and they must have known that the measures that supposedly justified this were completely pointless.

  • Stillreading

    Not sure about your assertion Thorpe that medical professionals, doctors included, saw any hazards in what you rightly call experimental, untested vaccines. The overwhelming majority of doctors are currently happily exposing their arms for a 4th dose and presumably around the New Year, if not before, will equally happily take a 5th, meaning presumably that they have chosen not to look closely at the many long-term disadvantages of the jab now emerging. They either don’t want to know or are too busy to spend the time required to research the numerous papers on the subject. I understand from family members that doctors and nurses DID, very much indeed, regret having to exclude close relatives, including spouses, from the bedsides of terminally ill and dying patients, but like most of the rest of us – myself regretfully included – fully bought into the false information emanating from Government “experts” on the lethal nature of the virus and the “don’t endanger granny” propaganda. Judging from what I experienced this morning, GPs at least have not investigated the veracity of any information. I went for my annual ‘flu jab, declining to put a nappy on my face as, to their credit, had the majority of fellow attendees. We were greeted in the car park, marshalled into a queue, and those who weren’t masked were handed one of the wretched things and made to adorn themselves with it before entering the sacred doors. The nonsense of it! Inside the building we were directed straight down one of two corridors (old people one side, very old the other – that was me) jabbed, and out the exit door in less than two minutes. If this mask obsession pertains in every GP surgery in the country, in every covid vaxxing centre as well, just what is it costing the NHS – that’s us, the taxpayers – to supply these repulsive face napkins? Ingeresting isn’t it though that at least some of those responsible for initiating and enforcing the most brutal of the lockdown regulations are now saying it’s time to put it all behind us and “forgive”. I suspect they know exactly what’s coming down the tracks in terms of the acknowledgement of covid vax induced disability and death and are taking what they hope will be exculpatory steps. The ongoing trend of excess deaths just cannot be attributed to NHS failure to treat.

  • Carolyn Hill

    This is all just band waggoning (yes, I know, I just made it up). The relentless cost of living and inflation headlines are encouraging all the unions to start striking for more pay. If it’s good enough for the vastly overpaid train drivers then it’s good enough for the nurses and the teachers and any other organisation with unionised labour. Wee Nippie is just egging them on too, how much more money can we screw out of Westminster?

    And for nurses needing a university degree, whose stonkingly stupid idea was that?

    Bring back matron and Thatcher.

  • Stillreading

    It was evidently the stonkingly stupid idea of “Call me Dave” Cameron and the equally inept Nick Clegg. (I’ve just looked it up.) As you rightly say Carolyn, if high pay increases are OK for vastly overpaid train drivers, then the nurses and teachers merit a cut of the cake as well. Yes, nursing and probably teaching too are vocations, but that doesn’t mean they should be exploited. Regarding the NHS, the rot set in way back in the early 70s when that terror of the ward, Matron, was replaced by some ineffectual, self-important pen-pusher, who strolled around the corridors all day with a clipboard. Didn’t know one end of a patient from the other!

  • david draig

    Just a thought about the utterly stupid idea of nurses needing a university degree. As far as I know, this was something that was pushed on our useless politicians by the idiots at the RCN (Royal College of Nursing) as a way of raising nursing to be considered a profession and thus requiring higher pay than in the past.

    So, I believe the RCN is largely responsible for the disastrous shortage of nurses as many people who would make great nurses may not be the types who wanted to spend 3 years studying for a Uni degree.

  • Paul Robson

    This is wrong.

    It’s worse. You haven’t included the value of the handout pension (and yes , I know “you pay for it from your wages” but even the dimmest nurse should realise that there needs to be some sane link between the *amount* you contribute and the payout).

    Calculations I did on basic teacher salary (slightly more) indicated this was worth about an extra 30% or so.

  • Paul Robson

    @Carolyn Hill I can tell you the Nursing degree is a joke, because I edited every single word my wife wrote to get one. It is largely paraphrased essays, easy to churn out at will. No complex concepts (I didn’t do biology O-Level and had zero problems understanding it).

    I could never be a nurse, but I could do the degree part with my eyes closed.

  • Stillreading

    And David, the types who want to spend three years studying for a degree not infrequently find that, those three years having passed without patient contact, they have no appetite for administering to a vomiting, excreting, urinating, sometimes malodorous sick fellow human. Some are repelled. They are not to be blamed for that, since the qualities needed in a nurse are not universal. Some love it, others don’t know they will loathe it until they’ve already given it three years of their lives and are indebted to the Government for thousands of pounds. Back in the pre-degree dark ages, there were two tiers of nurses. The State Registered Nurse had gone through the training I described earlier and could eventually become a Ward Sister or Matron (before Matrons disappeared.) I knew well intentioned young women who genuinely thought they had a vocation for nursing, but in the days when student nurses went on the wards almost from the start of their training, they very soon discovered they just couldn’t hack it, so quit in favour of some other way of earning a crust. That way there was no wastage of student or teacher time and money. State Enrolled Nurses underwent less training, had less formal education in nursing, and were not I believe qualified to dispense medication without supervision or to give injections or insert canulae. They were though marvellous practical nurses, efficient, compassionate, caring. Since SRNs and SENs wore almost identical uniforms, patients were unaware of their differing professional status. It was an evil day for nursing when the universal Degree requirement was introduced. I hadn’t known it was at the instigation of the RCN.

  • Carolyn Hill

    If there was ever a job most suited to an apprenticeship it’s nursing. You start at the bottom and work your way up, getting your hands dirty and learning from experience. There is nothing in book learning that is going to help a nurse do their job more effectively. In hospital they are not allowed to have a medical opinion, all decisions must be deferred to a doctor.

    So well done RCN – in bigging yourselves up, you’ve severely restricted the intake of nurses and probably eliminated a lot of caring young people who would have made excellent nurses but didn’t want to be saddled with going to “uni” and the subsequent debts. Meanwhile of those who have done the degree, some of them now think getting their hands dirty is beneath them. So that all worked out well then!

  • Ern

    A Thorpe : “Where were the nurses and doctors at the start of the pandemic” etc and Stillreading : “Not sure (medical professionals, doctors etc” … In fact, you each make the same point IMO. They decided to zip the lip and keep shtum, concealing the real risks of using untested (on human) “vaccines”.

    They carried on working. The alternative was to risk “not being able to put bread on the table”.

    Honestly, it hurts me to say so, having had such wonderful care and attention from so many amazing NHS nurses, but fundamentally, I believe it is down to how people stick to their principles, if they have them.

    Silence is not golden, especially when innocents suffer, maybe even die from dubious, but very expensive injections.

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