News

Nurses up to £3,600 worse off as wages fail to keep up with inflation

Analysis by Nursing Standard shows dramatic disparity when comparing current salaries with those from a decade ago
Picture shows a young female nurse holding banknotes and looking at them and frowning.

Analysis by Nursing Standard shows dramatic disparity when comparing current salaries with those from a decade ago

Nurses are up to £3,600 a year worse off as inflation soars to a 30-year high of 4.8% and wages fail to keep pace, an analysis by Nursing Standard shows.

Rises in inflation, energy bills and food prices mean that nurses at the top of band 6 are losing out on £3,641 in real terms when comparing salaries from 2010 and 2021.

The TUC said the lack of recognition of the impact of inflation by the government is a ‘hammer blow to morale’ and is deepening the NHS staffing crisis.

Analysis by Nursing Standard shows dramatic disparity when comparing current salaries with those from a decade ago

Picture shows a young female nurse holding banknotes and looking at them and frowning.
Picture: Neil O’Connor

Nurses are up to £3,600 a year worse off as inflation soars to a 30-year high of 4.8% and wages fail to keep pace, an analysis by Nursing Standard shows.

Rises in inflation, energy bills and food prices mean that nurses at the top of band 6 are losing out on £3,641 in real terms when comparing salaries from 2010 and 2021.

The TUC said the lack of recognition of the impact of inflation by the government is a ‘hammer blow to morale’ and is deepening the NHS staffing crisis.

Comparisons for Bands 5 and 6

Currently a nurse at the top of Band 6 earns £39,037. But if salaries from 2010 had increased along with the consumer price index this would be £42,668, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Band 5 starters earning £25,655 are around £772 a year worse off than in 2010, while nurses at the top of Band 5 earning £31,534 in 2021 are now £2,828 worse off than in 2010, when they earned £27,534.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘Hard work should pay for everyone. But millions of key workers – on the front line of the pandemic – face another year of wages gloom. That is not right.

‘The government must stop burying its head and get pay rising across the economy. Ministers cannot abandon families during this cost-of-living crisis.’

NHS staffing crisis deepened by stagnating wages and excessive workloads, says TUC

The TUC says a ‘toxic mix’ of stagnating wages, excessive workloads and a lack of recognition is deepening the staffing crisis in the NHS and other public services, forcing dedicated staff to quit their jobs.

A TUC analysis of public sector wages published by the ONS shows that median pay in the public sector fell by 2.3% in real terms in November – the equivalent of £60 a month.

According to figures provided to Nursing Standard by NHS Digital, the median basic pay for nurses in 2010 was £25,770, compared with £31,031 in 2021. When comparing the wage difference in real terms using the CPI index, it means on average nurses are around £1,130 worse off.

RCN director of employment relations and legal services Joanne Galbraith-Marten said the figures will resonate with nurses who have had ‘years of real-terms pay cuts’.

‘Exhausted and demoralised after nearly two years of the pandemic, and facing a spiralling cost of living, they need to know the government is on their side,’ she said.

‘Failure to act on NHS pay will mean an exodus from the health service, with untold consequences for patients.’

RCN members in England and Wales have indicated their willingness to strike over a 3% pay offer, while Scottish members have indicated a willingness to strike over a 4% pay offer. Nurses in Northern Ireland have been offered a 3% pay rise.


In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first three months:

  • Customisable clinical dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals including Nursing Standard
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • NMC-compliant RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs