• Question: why do nhs workers not get paid a lot?

    Asked by task10tax on 29 Apr 2022.
    • Photo: Laurence Quirk

      Laurence Quirk answered on 29 Apr 2022:

      Great question

      Some do get paid a lot. Some might not earn much because they are in a lower pay band. They could if they chose too, do extra studying and take a step up into a different role in a higher pay band. if you wanted to look at Pay Bands – have a look at Agenda for Change

      The other thing as well is that the NHS is a public service so it is reliant on government to pay wages. Government pays wages based on the money it thinks it can afford. As a public service it does not make profit or if it does it must go back into services. This may not always be about staff wages and money may need to be invested in buildings or equipment.

      If healthcare was a private company then it may be different and people might be paid higher wages but they could paid a lot less. Many private companies do just pay staff minimum wage too. If healthcare was private then as a patient you and your family would have to pay for each appointment and all of your medicines.

    • Photo: Sarah Chalmers-Page

      Sarah Chalmers-Page answered on 2 May 2022:

      It depends on the job you are doing. NHS cleaners, for example, tend to get paid a little more than private sector cleaners, especially once you consider pension and sick pay benefits. Managers and nurses tend to get a little less than they would in the private sector, although many are on decent money. And doctors earn less working for the NHS than private work, but they make a very good wage compared to many other people in the UK.

      There are several reasons for wages being the way they are. The first is that the NHS does not make a profit. We don’t have performance bonuses the way a profit making company might, for example, because that might risk putting people off looking after the sickest and most vulnerable patients because they would be the least likely to pay- you can see that happening in some countries where there are profits in healthcare. And because we are paid out of tax money, the government sets limits on how much we can spend on healthcare – based on what voters tell them they are prepared to pay. A government that raises taxes to pay healthcare workers more risks losing votes from other people who do not want to, or can’t afford to, pay more tax. We also have nationally agreed pay scales – everyone doing the same job, with the same rate of experience, should be getting paid roughly the same (a little more if they work in London). That means you cannot negotiate a pay rise for yourself easily – pay rises for the same work would have to apply to everyone.