The Complete Video Guide to NHS Doctor Pay Scales

NHS pay scales can be confusing, particularly with several different grades to consider. Each have their own basic salary but you might not realise ...

NHS pay scales can be confusing, particularly with several different grades to consider. Each have their own basic salary but you might not realise that they also come with uplifts, enhancements, on-call allowances, banding and additional programmed activities (PAs). 

If you're an IMG who is new to the NHS then you'll want to be sure that your offer is competitive and that your salary and pay package reflect your experience. That's why it's important to understand all of the pay scales prior to making job applications as it'll be much harder to negotiate the right package if you've applied to a job with the wrong scale for you.

In this comprehensive video guide to the NHS Medical Pay Scales you'll learn how each grade of doctor is paid including all of the additional extras that you might not have heard about. We also explain which scales are used most regularly and draw comparisons between them. By the end of the video you'll understand how each scale is calculated and you'll then be able to effectively estimate how much you could earn as a doctor in the NHS.

Useful Information

For exact figures you'll find them in our article about NHS Pay Scales for Doctors Explained.

And all of the calculations for additional extras are explained in our blog on NHS Salary Calculation for Doctors.

Video Chapters

You can skip ahead to your pay scale using these timings:

  • 00.00 - Intro
  • 00:34 - The Different Types of Pay Scales
  • 01:37 - 2016 Junior Doctor Pay Scale
  • 04:20 - 2002 Junior Doctor Pay Scale
  • 06:25 - Specialty Doctor Pay Scale
  • 08:16 - Specialist Doctor Pay Scale
  • 09:35 - Consultant Doctor Pay Scale

  • 10:48 - 6% Pay Rise from April 2023

Video Transcript

A full transcript from the video follows:

00:06 Hi everyone.

00:08 Welcome to today's episode of the Vlog series.

00:10 Today we're going to do a Vlog on salary scales.

00:13 So we're going to talk through how salaries

00:15 are calculated for doctors, all of the different

00:17 things that go alongside them, like extra PAs

00:20 and banding and uplifts and enhancements and all

00:22 the things you've probably heard of.

00:24 And we're also going to touch on the

00:25 recent pay increase for doctors, which has been

00:28 confirmed at 6% for most grades.

00:38 So if you're an IMG new to the NHS, then

00:41 you might be wondering which pay scale you'll be offered.

00:44 There's a few different options depending on your grade,

00:47 so it gets a little bit confusing when you're

00:49 talking about junior and middle grades because you have

00:52 the old scale, the new Junior Doctor's pay contract

00:55 and then speciality Doctor and Specialist as well.

00:58 It's a bit simpler if you're a consultant

01:00 because there's just a single pay scale.

01:02 The pay scale is attached to the job that you

01:05 apply for, so you should pay attention to this.

01:07 When you're making your job applications, you'll usually see on

01:10 NHS jobs, there'll be a range and that will indicate

01:14 to you exactly which scale they are using.

01:17 If you apply to a job that's got a speciality doctor

01:20 pay scale, you can't then ask for it to be changed

01:23 to an old scale or a new Junior Doctor pay scale.

01:25 So make sure you apply to the right job

01:28 because you won't have an opportunity to negotiate it

01:30 into a different salary scale if you do.

01:39 So we're going to start with the Junior

01:43 Doctor pay scale that was introduced in 2016.

01:47 So this was when the new trainee

01:48 contract came in to the NHS.

01:51 This is the pay scale that most

01:53 doctors find themselves on these days.

01:55 The other middle grade pay scales have been abandoned,

02:00 they do still hang around and one or two trusts

02:02 use them with historic posts that are being filled.

02:04 But usually you'll find yourself on this

02:06 new doctor's contract, or the 2016 Junior

02:09 Doctor's contract, as it's often known.

02:11 It's a little bit complicated in terms of how

02:14 it's calculated, so we're going to walk through it.

02:17 The first point to note is that you'll be

02:18 assigned a basic salary, not based on your years

02:21 of experience or your seniority in your home country

02:24 or anything to do with that.

02:25 It's actually based on the grade that you apply to.

02:28 So if you apply to a CT1, CT2 or

02:31 ST2 level, you'd be assigned a salary alongside that.

02:35 If you apply to an ST3+

02:38 you'd be assigned a salary alongside that.

02:40 And if you apply to a more senior level

02:41 to ST7 or ST8, you'll also be

02:43 assigned a salary as a basic alongside that.

02:47 So you can't take your years of experience to your

02:50 employer and say, well, actually, I've got 15 years.

02:52 How many years does that calculate?

02:54 That's on old scales, that's on specialty

02:56 doctor, that's on consultant level, but not

02:58 for the new Junior Doctor's pay contract.

03:01 Now, where it gets interesting is the

03:03 enhancements, or uplifts, as they're sometimes known.

03:06 So if you work beyond a 40 hours working week, which

03:10 is a standard working week in the UK and in the

03:12 NHS, then you'll be paid one 40th of your salary hourly

03:16 for every hour that you work beyond that.

03:18 So if you work 44 hours, you'll be paid four

03:21 40ths or 10% additional on top of your basic salary.

03:25 You also get an enhanced rate if you work

03:27 a rota, which involves hours between 09:00 P.m.

03:31 And 09:00 A.m., and that can be

03:33 up to 37% on top of that.

03:36 We're going to write all this down,

03:37 by the way, in the notes below.

03:39 So if you're not following it, it's a little

03:41 bit easier when you've got it on paper.

03:44 You also receive a weekend allowance

03:46 and an on call allowance.

03:48 And those are they vary between 3% and 15%, depending

03:51 on the duration of the shifts that you're working.

03:54 So it's a little bit complicated, but the idea of

03:57 it is that you're paid for the hours that you

03:59 work and paid quite accurately according to those.

04:02 So a lot of the older scales, you

04:03 were basically put into one of two brackets.

04:06 You either worked on calls or you didn't,

04:08 and you were paid banding or you earn.

04:10 Whereas now you're remunerated exactly according

04:14 to the hours that you work.

04:15 So the busier your shift pattern,

04:17 the more you're going to earn.

04:25 So the next salary scale that we're going

04:27 to mention is the 2002 junior Doctor contract.

04:30 So this is the one that preceded the 2016 junior doctors contract

04:35 and the basis of this one, wasn't as it is on the

04:38 2016 one, based on your grade and your job title.

04:42 It was actually based on your years of experience.

04:44 So it started at FY1, FY2, and

04:47 worked its way right the way through to ST8

04:49 right at the top of the trainee scale.

04:51 And every year you were given a new

04:53 increment and the pay scale went up accordingly.

04:56 So it kind of made sense.

04:57 And this pay scale does still hang around

05:00 in some places, but it is becoming increasingly

05:02 rare, so you don't tend to find many

05:05 hospitals still offering it these days.

05:08 The interesting bit is where you

05:10 get involved with the banding situation.

05:12 So there's lots of different banding scales. 1A

05:16 1B. 1C. 2A.

05:18 2B. 3.

05:20 The only two that ever really seem to come

05:23 up and certainly the only two that seem to

05:24 be in existence anymore are 1A and 1B

05:27 and they are between 40 and 48 hours

05:30 either worked mostly antisocially or moderately antisocially.

05:35 So you can see where when the junior doctor contract came

05:38 in in 2016. The idea was that rather than clumping people

05:43 together with a set of hours, you were actually paying them

05:45 for the exact hours that they were working.

05:48 Some doctors, obviously this benefited, and

05:51 others it was to a detriment.

05:52 So that was why it was quite

05:54 a contentious issue at the time.

05:55 And the junior doctors, of course, striked back in 2016

05:59 over the new contract and eventually the resolution came through

06:02 and they went ahead with the 2016 version.

06:05 But it's still an important salary scale to

06:08 note because it's one that gets talked about

06:10 a lot, particularly in the IMG community.

06:12 The phrase "banding" relates to this old scale.

06:15 So actually, when you're talking about any other pay

06:18 scale, banding is actually not the right terminology, but

06:21 it does still get mentioned an awful lot.

06:28 All right.

06:30 The third pay scale that we're going

06:31 to talk about is Speciality Doctor.

06:33 Now, speciality doctor is a bit of an encompassing

06:36 term because actually it can mean anyone from ST3

06:39 level right the way up to consultant.

06:42 And there's lots of paypoints along the way here because,

06:44 of course, it's a grade at which doctors who have

06:48 decided not to complete their CCT or perhaps decided to

06:51 come out of their training, they can stay on this

06:54 career path for a few years before they drop back

06:56 in or decide to step up and become a consultant.

06:59 So it does allow for far more points along the way.

07:03 I think there's 18 in total.

07:06 And again, it's based on your years of experience.

07:09 Important to note here that it's not

07:11 all years of experience, it's years of

07:13 experience post CT2 level or equivalent.

07:17 So if you're overseas, you might want to take away

07:19 four years from your total experience to account for FY1

07:21 FY2, CT1 and CT2 equivalent years.

07:26 The other way that it's sometimes calculated is

07:28 if it's senior and speciality specific work.

07:32 So if you've been working as a registrar in

07:35 Paediatrics, you may have all of those years recognised.

07:39 The way your additional hours are calculated

07:41 on the Speciality Doctor scale is through

07:43 what's called PAs - programmed activities.

07:46 So they are four hour time slots.

07:49 A normal rota is made up of 10PAs, so 40 hours

07:52 a week, standard working week in the UK or the NHS.

07:55 But if you work additional PAs, you take on an

07:58 extra 4 hours a week or 8 hours a week,

08:00 for example, you're paid accordingly.

08:03 It's usually done in round numbers, so

08:05 you'd have eleven PAs or twelve PAs

08:06 and be given 10% or 20% accordingly.

08:09 So basic salary plus additional PAs is

08:12 the way that one's calculated.

08:20 Okay, so the specialist pay scale, now,

08:23 not to be confused with speciality doctor,

08:26 the specialist grade was introduced as a

08:28 grade that could be almost consultant level.

08:31 So a lot of the work you do, a lot

08:33 of the Practise you do will be independent, but you've

08:35 still got the supervision of consultant level doctors around you.

08:39 For that reason, there are fewer points

08:41 on the specialist doctor pay scale.

08:45 And again, they are based on years of experience.

08:47 But you need to be able to evidence years

08:49 of experience as a specialist, which, if you're an

08:52 IMG, if you're an international doctor, may well mean

08:55 years of international consultant level experience.

08:58 So it's going to be harder to

08:59 get those years recognised, but you can.

09:02 And again, the additional hours are calculated in much

09:05 the same way as the speciality doctor scale.

09:08 So if you work additional PAs - programme activities, so you

09:12 do an extra 4 hours or 8 hours or 12 hours,

09:14 you'd be given an extra 10%, 20%, 30% and so on.

09:18 There is one additional piece here, though, and

09:21 that is that you can also be awarded

09:23 an extra allowance if you work on calls.

09:26 So your on calls, depending on the

09:28 frequency, will give you an extra percentage

09:30 uplift on top of your basic salary.

09:39 So the consultant pay scale, the final one, if you've

09:42 made it this far, you've reached the height of your

09:44 career and of course, that means that you can start

09:48 to move through the ranks as a consultant.

09:50 There's up to 20 years that

09:52 can be recognised as a consultant.

09:54 If you're an IMG coming from overseas, do

09:57 not be surprised if your full years of

09:59 experience aren't recognised as a consultant.

10:01 It really does depend on the training and

10:03 experience and level of seniority that a consultant

10:06 is considered overseas versus in the NHS.

10:10 So you're going to need to show additional evidence to make

10:13 it very clear that that is the level you've been working

10:15 at if you want to get those years recognised.

10:18 So, quite simple in its calculation.

10:21 Any years of consultant experience are considered

10:25 and there are 20 points climbing the

10:27 scale at one year per point.

10:30 Again, exactly the same as the speciality doctor

10:32 pay scale and the specialist pay scale.

10:35 Any additional PAs programmed activities are

10:38 calculated at 10% per PA.

10:40 So an extra 10% for one PA, 20%

10:43 for two PAs and so on.

10:52 Okay, so we're going to post the most recent pay

10:55 scales underneath the video, so there'll be a link to

10:59 our blog, which has got every pay scale and every

11:02 point on there and how they're all calculated, so you

11:04 can have a good look through and see where you

11:07 think that you might feature.

11:09 It's important to note that just recently, only a few

11:12 days ago, the NHS announced that there was to be

11:15 a 6% pay rise for most doctors.

11:18 Doesn't include those in the specialist scale and the new

11:20 speciality doctor contract, but all of the doctors are getting

11:24 a 6% uplift, so the figures we put in will

11:27 reflect those and we will try to keep them up

11:29 to date as regularly as we possibly can.

11:32 Thanks so much for listening.

11:33 If you've got any questions or we can help with

11:36 anything at all, then please do get in touch.

11:38 We'd be more than happy to help.