The NHS has recently changed its pay structures.

From now on, all new PCT entrants to the NHS (bar people working for doctors and dentists) have to start at the lowest point of scale within the set pay band.

For instance, if an NHS job is advertised at a salary between £12,500-£15,500, if you get the job and are new to the NHS your starting salary has to be £12,500 – even though your existing salary might be £15,000 and you have all of the necessary experience. If you had worked previously for the NHS (say, you had a gap of 5 years between the two NHS positions), then you still start at £12,500 as your NHS employment is not continuous. You would only be entitled to receive a salary greater than £12,500 if you had worked continuously for the NHS – i.e. you could receive £14,000 per annum if you were an existing NHS employee.

My question is… is this legal? Is it not discrimination?

When you are going to be doing the exact same job as what someone with continuous NHS experience would have been doing, is it fair to pay them less simply on the basis that they haven’t got a continuous NHS employment record? Doesn’t such a ruling favour internal applicants, as external ones will be deterred from applying as they are going to be automatically put on a lower wage no matter what their qualifications and previous experiences are?

I’m curious because, as an ex NHS employee, if I were to re-enter the service, I’d have to go back at the ‘lowest’ rate, which given the fact that my experiences have increased since leaving and I was on a higher pay scale when I left, I find it slightly ridiculous that I’d automatically have to take a lower wage.

Is this discrimination for new or returning NHS employees?

Many thanks


Caroline Ashton