Job advert criticised for devaluing nursing with low pay band

NHS trust’s advert for clinical nurse specialist with ‘an advanced level of practice’ draws fire for being labelled a band 6 rather than band 7 role
Job advert

NHS trust’s advert for clinical nurse specialist with ‘an advanced level of practice’ draws fire for being labelled a band 6 rather than band 7 role

Nurses have criticised a ‘totally unacceptable’ devaluation of nursing after a job advert for an advanced role was advertised at a lower band.

The University Hospital Southampton NHS Trust (UHS) advertised for a Macmillan clinical nurse specialist (CNS) in gynae/oncology with ‘an advanced level of practice’. The advert specified a salary of a band 6 nurse on the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay scale, but elsewhere similar roles are paid at a band 7.

‘Do your homework and demand an appropriately banded post’

Registered nurse Victoria Cuthill shared the job advert on X (formerly Twitter) and said the variation of banding across the country for the same roles showed that AfC is not fit for purpose and was leaving nurses subject to a postcode lottery.

Ms Cuthill wrote: ‘Expecting people to practice ‘at an advanced level’ at band 6 is totally unacceptable. Senior nurses do better and stop putting out posts like this – do your homework and demand an appropriately banded post. A band 6 CNS post should be a trainee post only.’

Similar positions for a Macmillan CNS at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust have both been advertised as band 7 roles.

‘Roles are down-banded to save money’

NHS Employers has guidance for NHS trusts on how to place each job role onto the AfC banding framework.

But London South Bank University lecturer in healthcare and workforce modelling Alison Leary told Nursing Standard that the guidance was not correct for all nursing roles and allows employers to use loopholes to save money.

She said: ‘Despite the CNS role having been shown to be beneficial in terms of safety, quality and efficiency, it just isn’t valued. Roles are downgraded to a lower band and given to people often on a promise of future upgrading that doesn't materialise.

‘The NHS Employers combined job profiles guidance wrongly defines ‘specialist’ as a level of practice, employers misappropriate the job title and then roles are down-banded to save money.’

Trust plans to review roles and bandings

The NHS Staff Council is reviewing nursing and midwifery job profiles to ensure bandings reflect current practice. The RCN has said many nurses are working at pay bands that fail to match their competency and called for the review to be completed as soon as possible.

A spokesperson from USH said: ‘We currently appoint clinical nurse specialists on bands 6 and 7 and the band they are on is dependent on qualifications and experience. We await a national framework and once this is in place we plan to review our CNS roles/bandings against it.’

NHS Employers has been contacted for comment.

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