Skip to main content

Nurses' Pay

Volume 19: debated on Tuesday 2 March 1982

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the money value of the basic pay of a staff nurse; and what are the comparable figures for each of the last three years.

Staff Nurses in the National Health Service are paid on an incremental scale. The minimum and maximum of the scale currently in payment, that is, effective from 1 April 1981, are as follows, together with those for the scales paid from 1 April 1978 to 1 April 1980, inclusive. The figures for 1978 and 1979 relate to a 40-hour working week: those for 1980 and 1981 to a 37½-hour week. Various additional payments, including premium rates 'for conditioned hours worked at night, at weekends or on bank holidays, and a wide range of allowances were also increased in the same period.

Nursing pay gradeMaximum of basic pay scale at 1 April 1975Maximum of basic pay scale in payment at March 1982 (ie with effect from 1 April 1981)Percentage movement 1975–1981
Regional Nursing Officer—R19,27621,924136
Area Nursing Officer—AT(1)8,75420,793138
District Nursing Officer—DT8,46319,127126

figures are available; and if he will include the number in each age group who have died from (i) all infectious disease and (ii) whooping cough.

The information requested is as follows:

Pay Scale

Staff Nurse—SRN
Effective from:Minimum


1 April 19782,7763,385
1 April 19793,0203,683
1 April 19804,198*5,119
1 April 19814,450*5,426
* 37½ hour week.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services by how much nurses' earnings would have to be increased in April 1982 to retain the real value of the earnings at the April 1975 level, assuming the level of inflation in the current year to be 12 per cent.

I regret that information about earnings is not available for the earliest years requested. The effects of pay settlements negotiated for nurses and midwives differ according to the particular grade of staff concerned. The table below shows, for a variety of nursing grades, the maximum of the basic salary scale in payment from 1 April 1975 and currently, that is, from 1 April 1981, and the cumulative effect of the pay settlements reached in the intervening years for each of the grades given. In addition, from 1980–81 nurses' working hours were reduced from 40 to 37½ per week, which is equivalent to a further 6½ per cent. increase in pay.Percentage movements in the retail price indices—for all items recorded—over the relevant period (April 1975-April 1981) were 126: movements since 1 April 1981 (to 1 March 1982) were 9 per cent.

Nursing pay grade

Maximum of basic pay scale at 1 April 1975

Maximum of basic pay scale in payment at March 1982 (ie with effect from 1 April 1981)

Percentage movement 1975–1981



Senior Nursing Officer I4,4168,46292
Senior Nursing Officer II4,2428,14892
Nursing Officer I4,0447,79195
Nursing Officer II3,8947,55194
Nursing Sister n3,5527,215103
Deputy Nursing Sister3,0306,234106
Staff Nurse2,6465,426105
Enrolled Nurse2,3404,835107
Nursing Auxiliary1,9474,017106
Student—3rd year1,7403,593107
Pupil—2nd year1,6413,428109

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was nurses' pay, expressed as a percentage of all earnings, in April 1975, April 1979 and April 1981.

The information requested for the years 1975 or 1979 is not available centrally, nor is precise information about individual nurses' earnings. The following table sets out the average basic pay of nurses in

Average annual earnings* at 1 April 1981Average basic pay at 1 April 1981Average basic pay as percentage of average earnings
Regional Nursing Officer21,073As for


Area Nursing Officer18,389
District Nursing Officer15,982
Regional Nurse15,135
Area Nurse13,182
Divisional Nursing Officer11,016
Senior Nursing Officer8,0677,83197
Nursing Officer I7,6647,23494
Nursing Sister (Ward Sister) II7,6506,70288
Staff Nurse—SRN5,8264,99386
Enrolled Nurse5,2994,47784
Nursing Auxiliary4,4773,72983
Student Nurse3,7883,42890
* i.e. Average basic pay plus average special duty and excess hours payments.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what has been the percentage change in the real earnings of nurses in the period April 1975 to April 1981; and how this compares with the equivalent figure for earnings generally.

I regret that the information is not available in the form requested. However, I refer the hon. Member to my reply to him earlier today.