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Fair Pay for Nursing

Fair Pay for Nursing

The campaign

Nursing is the largest safety-critical profession in health care, playing a vital role in patient care.

Despite this, nursing remains understaffed and undervalued. After years of underinvestment, the government must act urgently to protect patient care by protecting the profession.

When politicians neglect nursing, they neglect patients. We need members and supporters to come together to achieve a safely staffed workforce. You can demand change today.

Agenda for Change review

The Scottish government has agreed to implementation of the Agenda for Change review’s recommendations on reform of the NHS pay scheme. Read more

The recommendations from the review relate to:

  • Protected time for statutory, mandatory and profession-specific learning - work will be needed on monitoring training completion rates during working hours and a ‘Once for Scotland’ approach to mandatory training with training passports
  • A review of band 5 nursing roles - band 5 nursing staff will be contacted by their employer and invited to apply for a review of their role. If successful in their application, they will receive backdated pay from back when it is agreed that they have been working beyond their job description, but no further back than 1 April 2023.
  • A 30-minute reduction in the working week - staff who cannot yet have their working week reduced by 30 minutes, for example, due to service pressures or safe staffing or wellbeing, will be paid overtime. This will be backdated to 1 April 2024 where payroll departments need time to adjust their processes. 

We will be supporting members through the implementation process – look out for emails from us and information on our website in the coming weeks. 

Please also remember to make sure your details on MyRCN are up to date so you can continue to receive updates from us.

Read our latest blogs 

General practice nursing pay in Scotland

Scotland's general practice nursing staff are getting a pay award for 2023-24. Find out more.

Pay deals in Scotland


RCN members voted to accept this pay offer in March 2023. It includes:

  • An average consolidated pay increase of at least 6.5% for all staff up to and including of band 8a
  • An additional one-off pro rata payment of between £387 and £939 (depending on pay point)
  • A review of the Agenda for Change pay scheme that builds on commitments made as part of the 2022-23 pay deal (see below).

Read the detail of the deal in full.


RCN members voted to reject the pay offer in December 2022. The offer included:

  • A percentage increase depending on pay point and band
  • A commitment to a review of band 5 nursing job roles to establish if these are still fit for purpose
  • A commitment to establish a working group to consider protected learning time for professional groups of Agenda for Change staff
  • The permanent retention of paid overtime for bands 8 and 9
  • Maintenance of temporary enhanced mileages rates for NHS Scotland staff until the UK Staff Council review is concluded
  • A commitment to establish a working group to explore the feasibility of a reduced working week, with the aim of getting to a 36-hour working week without the loss of earnings
  • A commitment to a mechanism to negotiate NHS pay for future years which will avoid such protracted discussion and delay.

The Scottish government chose to impose a deal after the majority of other health trade unions voted to accept. Read the detail of the deal in full.

The strength of the RCN’s industrial action mandate and members’ overwhelming rejection of this pay offer resulted in further negotiations and the subsequent pay offer for 2023/24.

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Page last updated - 01/03/2024