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Nursing Pay

The RCN and NHS trade unions have negotiated a three-year pay deal with the Government in England. 

Go to information about:
Who the deal is for
What the deal includes
How the deal is being funded
Should RCN members support the deal
Have your say
Pay calculator on the NHS Pay website

Who is the deal is for?

The deal is for staff working for the NHS in England only. However, we are committed to UK-wide pay, terms and conditions. 

Find out more about the pay situation in:


What does the deal include?

Every member employed in the NHS in England gets a pay rise

Everyone employed in England on an Agenda for Change contract will receive a pay rise. For around half of NHS staff it will be 6.5% over three years - with some receiving much more.

Find out what the deal means for you each year using the pay calculator on the NHS Pay website. More information about the 2017/2018 NHS pay scales can be found here.

Progress to the top of pay bands will be quicker

The pay structure is being simplified. Overlaps between the bands are being removed and the number of pay points is being reduced, meaning you’ll be on the highest rate for your band sooner.

Changes to the pay structure mean that your pay increase may be different to your colleagues. It’s important to see what this deal means to you.

Unsocial hours payments will continue

We know unsocial hours payments are an essential part of your pay package. The RCN fought to successfully protect them in this deal.

Annual leave will not change

You may have heard that as part of the pay deal staff would be required to give up a day of annual leave each year.

The RCN has successfully protected annual leave allowance in England and the number of days you have remains the same.

Better starting salaries will improve recruitment potential

The ability to recruit new staff has been compromised by low wages. New starting salaries will be more attractive and for the first time, the lowest paid staff in England will be earning the living wage. Better pay will help to attract new staff to nursing roles.

This deal affects different bands and pay points in different ways. Read the full details on the NHS Pay website.

The deal will improve staff happiness and wellbeing at work

The deal will see improvements to productivity in the NHS – staff will be able to progress and to learn new skills and knowledge. Increments will be based on increased capability and development.

There is also a partnership approach to health and wellbeing in the deal to address the current high rate of sickness in the NHS. We believe keeping staff happy and well at work would result in the desired rise in productivity.

NHS pay calculator.

Find out what the three-year pay deal means for you using the calculator on the NHS Pay website.

How is the deal is being funded?

The deal is fully funded by the Treasury. £4.2 billion of extra money will be given to the NHS in England, so there will be no pressure on employers to fund the deal from existing resources.


Should RCN members support the deal?

The RCN Trade Union Committee, which includes elected members from every region and country, has endorsed the offer. They are recommending that members in England accept the deal. 

This is the best pay deal in eight years from a government that is still committed to austerity and the RCN considers it to be the most we can expect at this time.

What will happen if the deal is accepted

The new arrangements will be implemented in England by the summer and payments will be backdated to April 2018.

What will happen if the deal is rejected

If the NHS unions reject the offer, it is likely that pay recommendations would be made by the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB) and as the £4.2 billion of extra funding agreed by the Treasury would no longer be available, the offer could revert to the 1% of previous years.


Have your say

RCN members employed by the NHS in England are being asked to have their say via an online consultation between 23 April and 5 June.

The outcome of the consultation will inform the RCN Trade Union Committee’s decision to accept or reject the deal.

NHS trade unions are consulting their members and the RCN decision will form part of this wider consultation.

The deal will be accepted or rejected on the outcome of the full NHS trade union consultation.

Who can take part

RCN members employed by the NHS in England will be invited take part in the consultation. Only people directly affected by the deal, i.e. their pay will change as a result of it, are able to vote. Students are not eligible to take part unless they are employed in the NHS in England on an Agenda for Change contract. 

How eligible members can vote

Eligible RCN members will be invited to take part in an online vote by email. The vote will be open from 23 April to 5 June.

You will need to enter your membership number and name. You can get your membership number from any of the following:

  • your membership card
  • inside the front cover of your RCN Handbook
  • by calling the RCN Membership Team on 0345 7726 100
  • by logging on to MyRCN

It’s essential that your employer details and email address are correct for you to receive an email and to vote. If you haven’t registered an email address with us, visit MyRCN to update your details.


Find out about upcoming NHS pay deal workplace and branch events near you.


Read the recent blogs about the NHS pay deal.