The NHS currently employs more than 1.7 million people. It is the biggest employer in the UK, and the fifth largest in the World. Caring for millions of people every day, the NHS workforce has become an institution in Britain.
Working for the NHS
There is a common preconception that public sector workers are underpaid for the work that they do, however that’s not the case. There are more than 300 roles on offer in the health service, and all with suitable pay for the responsibilities involved. The ‘Agenda for Change’ guarantees each nurse a salary that matches their skills, abilities and work responsibilities. For example, the current starting salary for a Band 5 Nurse is £25,655,with 2-4 years’ experience, a Band 5 Nurse will earn £27,780, and the very top of this banding pays £31,534.
Once a nurse has gained more experience or specialised in a particular area of nursing their salary will have an increase,for example band 6 Nursing roles (typically include Senior Nurses, Deputy Ward Managers, Health Visitors and various specialist) start at £32,306, and rise to £39,027. Band 7 nursing roles (for example Ward Managers, Emergency Nurse Practitioners and clinical specialists) start at £40,057 and rise to £45,839. While Band 8 and 9 roles (normally only apply to Modern Matrons, Chief Nurses and Consultants) start at £47,126, but at Band 8d, can rise to £90,837 a year.Meanwhile, Band 9 roles start at £93,735, and rise to more than £108,075 a year with 5 years or more experience.
Benefits of working for the NHS
One key benefit of working as a nurse for the NHS is the wealth of career options that are available. You have the option to work in a variety of different healthcare settings from Hospital to community with an offer of multiple specialities, and if you want to take it one step further, UK nursing careers offer the option of becoming management, advanced practitioners and consultant nurses. Furthermore, there are endless options for nurses to specialise in their favourite area of healthcare. This includes but is not limited to emergency care, anaesthetics, midwifery, neonatology, orthopaedics, fertility to surgery. The choice is yours!
The NHS also recognises the demands its workers face and offers flexibility, allowing staff to keep their personal commitments offering options such as shift work, part-time roles and job shares, so the employers can maintaining a work and life balance. One of the great benefits of working as a nurse with the NHS is that hospitals are a 24/7 service so depending on your area you may have the option to work a regular 9-5 shift pattern, rotations, night shifts followed by days off, etc.
Training and Progression
Childcare and school support are also offered, making the NHS an appealing organisation to work for as family life won’t be affected by work. Having the option to work flexibly has various advantages from the ability to see your children more, increased leisure time and the scope to manage personal commitments. Depending on what scheme your hospital offers… credit hours may be turned into full days off work, travel to and from work may be easier and cheaper outside peak hours or the fact that you’re an early morning riser – your work can fit around these natural rhythms. In the NHS there is a strong focus on training and helping staff to progress. Learning new skills and developing your career is one of the advantages of working in the NHS. Whether you’re part-time or full-time, the NHS offers a chance to gain extra skills and training, wiith regular reviews and a clear plan, all employees can develop via the Knowledge and Skills Framework.
All the overseas nurses are entitled to get paid holidays of 27 days every year to travel and to unwind. In addition, they will also be paid for eight bank holiday each year. Hence making it a total of 35 paid holidays every year. The NHS also offers one of the best pension schemes in the UK From offering workers the chance to advance in their career and progress within the organisation, to offering childcare options and a pension scheme, it’s clear the value the NHS gives its employees. Last but certainly not least, a nursing career within the NHS will provide you with 100% job security. Nurses are wheels of the NHS and hospitals are unable to function without them. As the UK population continues to age, the need for nurses also increases. As people live longer, their need for healthcare services increases. More nurses retire each year than there are new nurses to replace them, which is why the NHS heavily relies on international recruitment – providing you with the job security that you need.
It is also important when talking about NHS to say that there are NHS Foundation Trust and NHS Trust organisations. Foundation Trust status is only awarded to hospitals who have shown they demonstrate the highest clinical standards, quality leadership and a great record of patient responsiveness and safety. Foundation trusts have some managerial and financial freedom when compared to NHS trusts. It is a semi-autonomous organisational unit within the National Health Service in England. They have a degree of independence from the Department of Health and Social Care.
The NHS foundation trust gives greater opportunities for people, patients and staff who have a genuine interest in the Trust to have more of a say about the way in which services are provided. Part of the benefits of being a Foundation trust is the managing of their finances in a more business-like way, they are able to work their budget and that way invest in changing and improving services from several sources not being restricted to using only Government funds. NHS foundation trusts were created to devolve decision making from central government to local organisations and communities. They provide and develop healthcare according to core NHS principles - free care, based on need and not ability to pay.
They are part of the NHS and provide over half of all NHS hospital, mental health and ambulance services. Because they are not directed by Government they have greater freedom to decide, with their governors and members, their own strategy and the way services are run. They can also retain their financial surpluses and borrow to invest in new and improved services for patients and service users. This enables them to invest directly in the care of their patients, which means being able to hire staff according to their needs and their budgets.