Pay for some nurses has fallen in real terms since 2010

24th Sep 2020

Claim

NHS staff at the top of band 5 earned £27,534 a year in 2010 and £30,112 a year in 2020.

Conclusion

Correct. These are the salaries of NHS staff at the top of band 5 in England in 2010/11 and 2019/20.

A post on Facebook makes claims about the change in pay for NHS staff in band 5 between 2010 and 2020.

Some people have flagged this as possibly incorrect, but it is in fact true.

In 2010/11 the top of the band 5 pay scale was £27,534. In 2019/20 it had increased to £30,112.

This year (2020/21) it is £30,615.

Salaries for most NHS staff are arranged into bands, and many newly-qualified clinical professionals including newly-qualified nurses start out in band 5 which starts at £24,907 in England.

The more years of experience staff accumulate, the higher their pay gets at band 5 level.

These pay levels are shown in “cash terms” – literally what someone’s salary was in 2010 and what someone in the same job with the same level of experience would be earning in 2020.

Because money is only as valuable as what it can buy you, when comparing pay over time, it’s most useful to adjust these figures to account for inflation, allowing you to calculate what’s called a “real-terms” change.

After adjusting for inflation, the real-terms salary for someone at the top of band 5 actually fell by 9% between 2010/11 and 2019/20.