Working in the NHS

The NHS - a rewarding place to work

The National Health Service (NHS) is one of the largest employers in the world, and is the biggest in Europe, with over 1.3 million staff.

For the NHS a typical day includes:

  • over 835,000 people visiting their GP practice or practice nurse
  • almost 50,000 people visiting accident and emergency departments
  • 49,000 outpatient consultations
  • 94,000 people admitted to hospital as an emergency admission
  • 36,000 people in hospital for planned treatment

The NHS offers a huge range of exciting and challenging opportunities for people who are passionate about making a difference. With more than 300 different careers on offer, there is a job for you no matter what your interests, skills or qualifications.

No matter what area of the NHS you join, you will become part of a talented, passionate team of people committed to providing the best care and treatment to patients. You will also enjoy one of the most competitive and flexible benefits packages offered by any employer in the UK.

Pay and conditions

Everyone who joins the NHS is guaranteed a salary that matches their ability and responsibilities, and given every opportunity to increase it through training and development.

The NHS pay system, known as Agenda for Change (AfC), applies to all staff except doctors, dentists, and very senior managers. Benefits include:

  • a standard working week of 37.5 hours
  • pay enhancements to reward out of hours, shift and overtime working
  • holiday entitlement of 27 days a year, plus eight general and public holidays. This rises to 33 days after 10 years of service
  • better career and pay progression based on the application of knowledge and skills
  • annual personal development reviews to support career aspirations

Helping you find the right work-life balance

The NHS recognises the importance of a healthy balance between work and life. The Improving Working Lives (IWL) initiative was introduced in 2000, and has helped bring about a real culture change within the NHS - reducing stress, increasing motivation, and improving productivity among staff. Flexible working means that:

  • part time roles and job-share opportunities are often available, as well as term-time only, evening and weekend positions
  • the NHS may also be able to help with childcare, including nursery care, after school clubs and emergency care
  • if you are studying for a qualification, raising a family, or juggling other responsibilities, we will do everything we can to combine these commitments with your work
  • many people in the NHS take an extended break to look after young children or other dependents who need special care
  • you will also have access to occupational health services, such as counselling

Fulfil your potential

The NHS is committed to offering learning and development opportunities for all full-time and part-time employees. No matter where you start within the NHS, you will have access to extra training and be given every chance to progress within the organisation.

You will receive an annual personal review and development plan to support your career progression, and you'll be encouraged to progress through the Knowledge and Skills Framework.

Join one of the UK's best pension schemes

The NHS Pension Scheme is one of the most generous and comprehensive in the UK. Every new employee automatically becomes a member and you will get an excellent package of pension benefits, fully protected against inflation and guaranteed by the government. See www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/pensions for to find out about terms and conditions.

For more information about working in the NHS, the career paths available and more about routes of entry, visit the NHS Careers website.