“How much will I get paid as a doctor in the UK?” This is quite possibly the most frequently asked question by budding UK doctors, and plays a decisive role for many who want to move to the UK. Knowing the salary of a doctor in the UK is therefore an important query to clear.

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”

Epictetus

Like the quote of the Greek stoic philosopher above, spending is as important as earning, ergo we will discuss both pay and expenditure of a doctor in the UK.

via GIPHY

Pay Scale for doctors in the NHS is arranged as levels

It is essential that you familiarize yourself with the different levels of doctors in the UK and what they are called. Even non-trainee doctors have a level depending on their responsibilities. The photo below shows different levels of doctors and also where you can start your first non-training job according to you background before GMC registration, so you can understand your salary after PLAB, MRCP/MRCS, etc.

Pay scale is determined on the basis of two things:

  1. Obviously, AT WHAT LEVEL (as pictured above) you are employed. Be 100% sure that you know this before you start your job.
  2. How many hours per week will you be working? Will your rota include working night duties/long days (a.k.a on-calls) or is it a shift based duty? Or will it be basic hours only?

So, for basic hours only, there is a fixed basic pay depending on the level of the doctor:

Banding or Enhancement of pay for doctors in the UK

Banding is a variable supplement to reflect how many extra hours are being worked on average, the type of working pattern, the frequency of extra duty, and the antisocial nature of the working arrangements. If a doctor is working 40 hours a week on average, and the hours are always Monday to Friday, within 8am-5pm, NO BANDING applies. That means they will get paid only basic pay.

So you can easily expect a 30-40% (of your basic pay) additional pay on top of your basic pay if you are doing on-calls and night shifts. So your GROSS Pay= Basic Pay + Banding/Enhancements.

The important thing is to making sure that you know your BASIC PAY and GROSS PAY AFTER ENHANCEMENTS before starting the job.

Taxes and other deductions

Generally if you are employed in a fixed term contract with an NHS trust, your income tax, National Insurance (NI) and NHS Pension (if you don’t opt out it) will automatically be deducted from your pay and and you will be paid the rest. This is called PAYE (pay as you earn).

So, you don’t have to think about or remember to pay taxes. Other taxes and bills like council tax, utility bills can also have a direct debit system where they will timely take the bill from your bank account and again, you don’t have to remember to pay.

Income tax

If you are in a fixed term contract with a NHS trust, you tax code should be 1250L. Make sure you ask for a P46 form to fill before your payroll is setup, otherwise you will be taxed at a Basic Rate without any personal allowance. This is important to know because if you aren’t aware, you won’t be able to find out whether you are getting paid correctly or not.

You can claim tax relief for different cost related to your work, How to claim tax relief

National Insurance

The national insurance is contributed from both the employers and the employees. Employees- your contribution will be deducted from your pay by the employer.

NHS Pension

How much is the take-home pay for doctors in the UK?

As mentioned earlier, you have to know how much you will get paid after enhancements before taxes to have a general quote. This is why you should ask for your WORK SCHEDULE from the HR of your hospital. It should mention things like this:

So for a total annual pay of £53,019.08, taking 9.3% NHS pension into account, I use the salary calculator to find out what will be my take-home pay (deducting taxes and pension and national insurance).

At this point again, I want you to look the photo at the top of this post again, where I mentioned which level you can start depending on your previous qualification, and check the general pay. The above example is for my position and specifically my rota.

Your gross pay may change depending on your contract and hours and that’s why it is VERY important to know this information when you agree to take a job. By using online calculators, you can easily find out what your take home pay will be.

A fresh graduate junior doctor who completed internship and obtained GMC registration via PLAB, can potentially earn between £2200 – £2700 (FY2-CT1) per month.

Is the pay same for training and non-training doctors?

The payment structure is based on the level you will be employed. A training doctor will get their pay in the UK funded by the deanery, and a non-training doctor will get their pay in the UK by the individual trusts. There is little to no room for negotiation with deanery but which may not be the case for trusts. So, technically speaking you can negotiate to get paid more in non-training jobs based on your previous experience.

But the basic pay structure at different levels as mentioned above more or less stays the same for training and non-training doctors.

Pay for GP or medicine & surgery consultants in the UK

The pay for salaried GP, specialty doctor and consultants varies mainly in terms of tenure of working and different threshold. If you are interested to know you can know everything from here.

The questions like “How much a dermatologist get paid in the UK?” “Who are the highest paid consultants in the UK?” are very difficult to answer. When you take up a consultant job you agree to a pay and negotiate based on your tenure and work experience. So the pay two Emergency Medicine consultant will not be the same (which is not the case for junior doctors).

Also some consultants or GPs can involve in private clinics which increase your pay substantially. So, the pay for consultants and GPs in the UK are very variable.

What about the cost of living?

Epictetus’ words come forth here again. Even if you earn £2500 a month it may not be enough if you spend twice that on average. Where could the money be spent?

  • Food
  • Housing
  • Clothes
  • Transportation
  • Personal Care
  • Entertainment

It is vital you know how to budget your allowance. There’s no need to scrimp and save, but you should be practical about the amount of money being deposited and the amount being spent. That being said, some things cannot be helped depending on location. For instance, a studio flat in London can cost you £800-£1000/month or even more, whereas in Liverpool or Hull, it might be £500-£700/month or less. Also look into hospital provided accommodations if offered, they tend to be considerably cheaper, less of a hassle, and are close to your hospital.

There are many cost of living comparison sites on the internet, so with a little digging, you can have a general idea regarding the cost of living.

For a quick snapshot- the cost of living in London is 55% more expensive than in Manchester, 64% more than Liverpool, 167% more than in Dhaka, 210% more than Delhi, and 251% more than Islamabad. [Source: expatistan.com]

So think about location before you take a job if your concerned about saving. Learn more about the hospital and surroundings and cost of living situation. If you don’t live in a big city, your expenditure per month for two people should not exceed £1000.

Also you can check out ways How to save money in the UK.

What about extra-hours or overtime?

Yes, in addition to your fixed job hours, you can work extra hours and shifts, these are mostly locum shifts/duties. There are two conditions thart have to be met:

  • You have to be free from your rostered duty
  • A locum shift have to be available on your day off

The hourly rate is definitely higher than your main job and as it highly varies from trust to trust and place to place, it’s beyond general discussion. You will definitely get to know about this, when you start working in the UK. But, yes, a considerable amount can be earned doing locum shifts/duties along with your day-to-day job, if you are up to it.

To summarize

There is more to life than money and to think that in a country like the UK, doctors don’t make a liveable wage, would be a mistake. Yes, there are definitely other countries where doctors are paid more, but often the cost of living, working hours, and standard of life are not taken into account.

“Money is numbers and numbers never end. If it takes money to be happy, your search for happiness will never end.”

Bob Marley

Good luck!

56 thoughts on “A Doctor’s Pay in the UK: NHS Salary Structure”

  1. Marmik Soneji

    Hello Ibrahim And Ibreez. I wanted to know about how consultants with multiple interests in different areas or fields are paid. For example in your video ASK a consultant with Dr. Vijay Kumar Singh he had a interest in stroke Medicine. But his main subject of consultancy is acute medicine and he also had a Intrest in gastroscopy.
    So my question is that do these Interests add to your annual salary??

    1. When a consultant gets a job, the managers make a job plan for each of them and it consists of how many PAs (programmed activity) they do in a week. Generally a full time consultant is expected to be working 10 PAs. PAs can be of different variety: ward round, clinic, endoscopy list, theatre list even teaching, educational supervision etc. So the final salary is calculated based on what PAs you are doing in your job plan and what rate you are getting paid for that.

  2. Hello ma’am.
    I wanted to ask which city is more profitable to live in.
    Since I heard we get extra pay in London

    1. Extra pay doesn’t add much to how expensive it already is in the end. You can check different websites online which can give you correct numbers about living expenses.

  3. Very good information sir. Need some help, I am an orthopaedic surgeon and due to join as SCF at Manchester in August. I have completed my internship in 2010 and after that did my post-graduation from June 2011- June 2014 and then have about 4.5 years experience from India as SR level. Got a MTI job in UK from June 2018- Aug 2020. Came back to India after that and have been working from Oct 2020. I also have MRCS and have clearly more than 10 years experience ( ST3+ of about 5 years) but they have calculated my basic salary of 41000. They say that they dnt count internship experience outside of UK and plus they have deducted 12 months from my experience saying internship in UK is of 24 months. Have spoken to BMA as well regarding the same ( unfortunately not a member currently) but the advisor said he can’t do anything. What should I do..are there any official guidelines that internship is not recognised ( though I got my GMC on basis of that in MTI) and any other documents which can help me in putting up my case strongly..

    1. The only way you can solve this issue is by having representation (like a trade union like BMA). NHS employers are not obliged legally to negotiate your salary based on your previous non-UK experience. Collect their trust policy on this and get it looked by a member of a union.

  4. Hello!
    After doing MBBS and 1year of internship here in Bangladesh, Can I apply for CT1 instead of FY2?

  5. But how much do you get paid in the FY1 (considering that IMGs can now apply for FY1 instead of completing their internship in their home country)

  6. Hi sir…I have read in some places that we have to pay a course fees for university after plab.. is it true? So do I have to pay any course fees if I enter fy2?

  7. Is this generalised for all hospitals in the UK? At least for junior doctors, considering consultants have varied salaries…?

    1. The pay scale mentioned here is all over England. The link for the other devolved nations can be found in the article. Even consultants have a general pay scale, whose link is also there.

  8. If say u enter in uncoupled training eg in internal medicine. U start with CT1 right. As you guys explained its either 2 yrs or 3yrs core training to be eligible for class 2 and 1 specialities respectively. I just had the doubt that. After completing CT1 and CT2. Do you start speciality as ST1 or as ST3? And is there any exam to clear after core training to get into speciality? If yes, is there any such exams in run through training too?
    Thanks in advance. Your channel has been of great help ?

    1. The uncoupled higher training start at ST3/ST4. And there is no exam in the recruitment process for Higher speciality training but there are career progression exams like MRCP, MRCS has to be completed prior to progressing into that level of training. Please check this video to find out the person specifications for training posts.

  9. Hi thanks for the article – just want to ask – for the jobs advertised on NHS jobs – is the pay advertised (e.g £51198 including London weighting – for clinical fellow ST3+ -in) meant to include enhancements or is it basic pay?

    1. ST3 basic pay already is £49036 and probably the rest of £51198 is London weighting, so this salary does not include the enhancements. It’s basic pay for an ST3 post with London weighting. So it will be the payment if the post doesn’t have any on-calls.

  10. Hello sir
    I have finished my post graduation of 3 years in OBGYN and have one year work experience. I’m writing me MRCOG this year. At what grade will I be entering after my GMC registration?

  11. Peace be upon you.
    Sir your sincere efforts are highly appreciable .
    May God reward you abundantly.
    Question:
    Which route is easier- directly writing plab 1n2 and starting as Jr doc
    Or through mrcp and joining at a higher title/level ?
    Kindly answer Sir.

  12. Assalam am post graduate Dnb with 8+ yrs experience in Ortho currently doing plab.
    Pls clarify
    1.what grade I will be entering after gmc full registration. Whether my pay will be sufficient for my family (2 kids and wife). Am ok with extra hours for locum if available with regular job.

    1. Walaikumus salam.
      If you haven’t completed MRCS, it may prove difficult to get into registrar level post. So initially you can start with SHO level post to get a grip of the NHS system and then look for “specialty doctor” titled jobs.
      Your cost will largely depend on where you live. Big cities will cost more. So decide effectively on your first job.

      1. Thank you for enlightening. Do I get good chance of locum jobs in small cities? Pls let me know…

    1. Not usually. You may get a discount for a nearby one but not all NHS hospitals will have child care.

  13. Md Zazib Alam Adnan

    If i complete MRCP part 1 alongside with PLAB,does this give me any extra advantage to get NHS job?

    1. In many job adverts you may find MRCP (some parts) are put as a desirable criteria in person specifications. So, if you are applying for those jobs where it is mentioned, it can give you an edge over other applicants.

  14. So a junior dr. Just after plab can save and send his home up to 1500 to 1800 per month after alll expenses like tax food acoomadation shoping entertainment every thing…

  15. Is it alright for me to opt out of the NHS pension scheme? I mean in my home country, when we choose the pension scheme and later when we quit the service, the money saved up in the pension scheme is considered burned off. I am not sure for how long i will be in the UK, will it be till i reach the age of pension or just maybe the next few years till training is over. But then I read about the tax relief as well. Does this mean the tax paid over a year is waived off?

    1. If you don’t have concrete long term plans to remain in the UK, you can opt out of the NHS pension.

    1. Mainly in terms of accommodation, you’d need at least a two/three bedroom house where for a couple or single person one bed/studio flats are ok.
      More people means more food, more clothing, more on utility bills etc.

  16. it’s not only helpful,but also admiring & inspirational.one could find hope in his utter confusion..thanx alot for taking us to UK & now settling there as well.??

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