NHS nurse pay and conditions: why are they better in Scotland?

With higher pay, shorter hours, protected learning, and a safe staffing law, nurses in Scotland seem to enjoy benefits counterparts elsewhere can only dream of

NHS nurses on an NHS pay strike picket line
Picture: John Houlihan

What is the difference between being a nurse in Scotland and the rest of the UK?

The latest episode of the Nursing Standard podcast explores the differences on pay, terms and conditions for nurses working in NHS Scotland and beyond.

Working hours and CPD

With recent extra benefits secured through direct negotiations between the RCN and the Scottish Government, nurses not only get paid more in Scotland’s NHS, but also now enjoy a shorter working week and protected learning time.

Band 5 nurses will also be able to apply to have their role reviewed to check their job and skills match their pay band.

Advice for band 5 nurses

Our guest, RCN Scotland director Colin Poolman, talks to podcast host and senior reporter Alison Stacey about how Scotland seems to be leading the way on Agenda for Change.

Mr Poolman explains why RCN Scotland is able to directly negotiate with the government on pay, gives advice to all nurses on the band 5 job review and discusses what the new safe staffing legislation means for healthcare staff.

The episode also looks ahead to later in the year as Mr Poolman explores what the election could mean for the NHS pay claim, and whether he envisages nurses in Scotland taking to the picket lines in 2024.

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