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What is profile matching?  

In order to determine a band outcome for a specific job role, job descriptions are matched to standardised national profiles that have been developed by the NHS Staff Council Job Evaluation Group (JEG).

This is done using local job descriptions, person specifications and additional written and verbal evidence. Nearly all NHS jobs match a profile, aside from a small number of unique, specialist jobs that were determined by local job evaluation panels.

Why is a review needed? 

The job evaluation scheme that underpins the NHS national terms and conditions known as Agenda for Change has been in place since 2004. As a result, profiles have become outdated in comparison to the jobs many nursing staff are actually doing today.

We know that many staff feel frustrated by the current situation. Nursing staff must be recognised for the work they do, but in many cases that’s not happening.

The most recent RCN Employment Survey found that just under 70% of RCN members who responded stated their main reason for intending to leave the NHS is due to feeling undervalued, and two-thirds believe their current banding or pay level is inappropriate. 

In our survey, we also asked whether their pay band appropriately matches the role and responsibilities they hold – 65.5% responded that their banding is either inappropriate or very inappropriate.  

How has the RCN been involved in this review?  

The review of national nursing profiles was requested by the RCN in 2021, reflecting our strong view that the profiles need updating, as they simply don’t recognise the work that many nursing staff are now doing.

This review is one element of our Fair Pay for Nursing campaign, which has involved making a submission to the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB), direct pay negotiations with governments in Scotland and Wales, and submitting evidence regarding a separate pay structure for nursing staff working in England. 

Who is affected?  

JEG has developed updated draft profiles for nurses at bands 4, 5 and 6 affecting members working in those bands. Key changes include additional wording in the relevant job information, incorporating more accurate examples to reflect current nursing practice. The profiles, if agreed, will determine which band nursing staff match to.   

Could the changes have a significant impact? 

Potentially, members might have their band reviewed. In particular, there is growing evidence that many band 5 nurses are working above their band in many areas, either because they’ve gained specialist skills or are taking charge of wards.  

More broadly, there could be a positive impact on both recruitment and retention. Members currently contemplating leaving the profession might be encouraged to stay if they believe their contribution is better recognised and rewarded. It could also help to attract more newcomers to the profession and the service.  

Can members play a part in the consultation?  

Yes, and the RCN is encouraging members to comment on the new draft profiles. JEG has produced a document that compares existing profiles with their proposed changes, with a consultation now open and running until 30 June.  

Responses and any additional evidence will be used to inform the new profiles. 

To take part in the consultation, you can download the questions and complete an online questionnaire.

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