Are British nurses better paid than in Europe? (2023)

England's nurses are taking part in a 48-hour strike today in the latest chapter of their never-ending pay dispute with number 10.

more than 30,000National Health ServiceWorkers are expected to go on strike, experts believethe biggest day of industrial action ever to hit healthcare.

Around 10,000 rescue workers are now handling their own labor disputes.

Union leaders say their members need aInflation- Shoot the augment to deal with itcost of livingCrisis and resolution of the NHS staff shortage. But ministers refused to budge, saying the 4 percent offer was all the country could afford and more would come with the cost of services for patients.

Here MailOnline answers your questions about the stalemate in the care strike.

This graph shows the average salary of nurses in different European countries in 2020, taking into account the cost of living in each country. The UK is just below the European average of £31,600 at £30,880, but almost half that of top Luxembourg, which pays an average of £59,790.

Members of the Royal College of Nursing went on strike at St Thomas' Hospital in London today.

Nurses are on strike at London's St Thomas Hospital amid ongoing disputes over pay and working conditions.

How much do NHS nurses earn in a European comparison?

The most recent international comparison puts the average annual salary for UK nurses at around £30,880 in 2020.

This is just below the EU average for the same period (£31,600).

Both numbers were calculated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in December last year.

This report used data from 20 EU countries plus five from wider Europe, such as the UK.

The OECD calculated nurses' salaries based on the cost of living in that country, a method called purchasing power parity.

SEE MORE INFORMATIONNo wonder the NHS can't afford union wage demands: on the day of the biggest strike in history, we announced that the healthcare sector will spend £400,000 a day on ambulances and private taxis for patients.


Desperate employers are increasingly turning to the commercial sector, with spending on private ambulances and taxis rising 62% in just three years. The bill increased to £145 million in 2022, almost £400,000 a day

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This makes it possible to compare the value of the average salary of a nurse in a country where life is more expensive and in another where it is cheaper.

Luxembourg topped the payroll for nurses, with healthcare professionals earning the equivalent of £59,790.

Belgium followed with £55,700 and the Netherlands with £45,290.

The UK was ranked 12th overall, just behind Slovenia where nurses earned the equivalent of £33,330, but ahead of Poland where they earned £30,340.

The OECD also compared the salary of a nurse with the average salary of each country.

Across the EU, nurses earn 20% more than the average EU salary.

By comparison, UK nurses earned almost the average UK salary in 2020, similar to countries like Italy and Portugal.

Nurses in Belgium top the list with 60% more than the average salary, followed by Luxembourg and Spain, where healthcare professionals earn 50% more than the average worker.

Why does it matter what nurses earn in other parts of Europe?

Two reasons: recruitment and retention.

If a significant number of Britain's neighbors offer a comparatively higher salary than the NHS, nurses could be tempted to leave the country and work there, exacerbating existing staff shortages.

And in terms of recruitment, the UK is just one nation competing for international nurses from places like India and the Philippines to bolster its native nursing workforce.

If the UK doesn't offer a competitive salary, you might have a hard time attracting international carers.

This can be devastating and indeed, in recent years the UK has become increasingly reliant on overseas trained nurses.

The most recent data shows that the number of international registered nurses in the UK is approaching the number of nurses trained for the first time in the UK.

Data from nursing regulator, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, shows the UK is increasingly turning to international recruits to boost staffing levels. That year, the number of internationally recruited nurses almost equaled the number of UK nurses entering the profession for the first time. The data also shows that the number of internationally trained nurses employed in the UK has risen year on year, minus a drop caused by the Covid pandemic which has hampered immigration.

How much more money do British nurses want?

The rectors of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) campaigned for a 5% increase in salaries above inflation for their affiliates.

When inflation spiked late last year, it resulted in a 19.2% wage increase for unions, though it has since fallen slightly to 18.4%.

If accepted, the median salary for nurses would rise from around £37,000 to £43,800, an increase of nearly £7,000.

The £37,000 figure is a government estimate of what the average nurse in England currently earns.

VOTE HEREAre NHS workers taking the endless wage dispute too far by going on strike on the SAME DAY? Vote here and tell us why...

More than 40,000 nurses, paramedics and emergency workers are participating in the coordinated strike today. Pictured above, nurses picket outside St Thomas' Hospital in London on February 6.

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By comparison, the OECD estimate applies to the whole of the UK in 2020 and also takes cost of living into account.

Union leaders indicated that they could accept a salary increase ofless than half of its 18.4 percent requirement if the government agrees to negotiate.

The strike in Wales, scheduled for today and tomorrow, was called off at 11am. after the government offered nurses an additional 3%.

However, England's ministers have so far refused to discuss payment for the current fiscal year.

Is it just for payment?

NO. Union bosses also described the dispute as part of an effort to save the NHS, which is struggling with a patient lawsuit along with tens of thousands of vacant jobs.

Nurses on the picket pointed out problems with working conditions.

They said the stress of being understaffed and not being able to care for patients the way they want as they rush from one ER to the next drives them to leave the profession.

Others said it was wrong for hospitals to set up in-house food banks to help staff amid the cost-of-living crisis.

What is the government offer?

Number 10 said that the 4% being offered for the 2022/23 fiscal year is all the country can afford.

That's an extra £1,400, an increase backed by the independent NHS payment review body.

Ministers have repeatedly warned that any increase beyond that would have to come from existing NHS budgets, meaning fewer services for patients.

Downing Street has hinted that next year's wage negotiations could be more generous, but insisted on keeping the 4% increase for this year.

When is the next pay raise?

NHS workers will receive another pay rise in April at the start of the fiscal year.

However, this is unlikely to be paid on time.

Last week, the head of the NHS Pay Review Bodytold lawmakers that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) missed a critical deadline to submit its evidence for the next round of payments.

The panel works by taking information or evidence from unions, government and the NHS about the level of pay needed to attract enough staff to run the health service, compared to what ministers say the country can afford.

From this work, which is now ongoing without DHSC involvement, the agency makes a compensation recommendation to the government, which it can accept or reject.

While NHS Pay Review Body chairwoman Philippa Hird said she remains committed to meeting the April deadline for publishing her recommendation, ministers are unlikely to approve it immediately.

This would mean that any wage increases implemented by the government would have to be retroactive to April the end of the year.

How many more times will the nurses attack?

It is said that the nurses in England will be on strike again tomorrow.

No other dates have been announced for any British nation at this time.

However,The RCN said the strikes would continue "as long as necessary.".

Do nurses' strikes put lives at risk?

NO. Strikes by NHS workers are carried out under a system called waivers, which exempts union members from class action lawsuits to keep the public safe.

This means that a minimum level of staff will be agreed with the NHS to ensure life and health care, such as ambulance services, is maintained and that there are enough staff to care for patients already in hospital.

However, María Caulfield, Secretary of State for Mental Health and Women's Health Strategy, urged the RCN to call off the strikes, saying that the lives of patients would be at risk if the action were prolonged.

She said: “There is a risk to patients the longer the strikes go on.

“So if your trade is called off the first time, the risk is probably minimal.

"If this is repeatedly canceled due to ongoing strikes, patients will get sicker and there will always be a risk."

Who is still on strike today?

Unions representing NHS emergency workers are also on strike.

An estimated 11,500 rescuers are membersGMBand Unite lead strikes in England, Wales andNorth Ireland.

Unlike the RCN, which also plans to start the strike tomorrow, the rescuers will not deploy until today.

Where are the strikes taking place?

RCN members are on strike at 73 NHS funds and ambulance services across England today and tomorrow.

Special ambulance strikes are taking place at eight infirmaries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Ambulance workers are on strike today, as are those from the GMB union on the picket line outside the Gateshead ambulance station.

Where are the strikes today?


Midlands Orientales

University of Nottingham National Health Service Trust Hospitals

Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

East Midlands NHS Trust Ambulance Service


Norfolk University Hospitals y Norwich NHS Foundation Trust

Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust

Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust


Imperial College Healthcare National Health Service Trust

Guys and St. John’s Foundation Trust. Thomas NHS

Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

St. George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

University College London Hospitalais NHS Foundation Trust

Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust


Lancashire University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Wrightington Wigan und Leigh NHS Foundation Trust

Condessa of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Mid Cheshire Hospitals National Health Service Foundation Trust

Wirral University NHS Teaching Hospital Foundation

St. Helens Hospital y Knowsley NHS Trust

Tameside y Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

NHS Trust North West Ambulance Service

Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Trust Found - 6 Feb / 7 Feb

Clatterbridge Cancer Center NHS has found trust

Fundación Christie NHS Trust

Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust

Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust

Walton Center NHS Trust Foundation


Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust University Hospitals

Der Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Durham and Darlington County NHS Foundation Trust

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust

North East NHS Trust Ambulance Service


Sussex University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Portsmouth Hospitals National Health Service Trust

Southampton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust

East Sussex National Health Service Trust

Southeast Coast Ambulance Service

South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

On west

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Plymouth NHS Trust University Hospitals

Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust University Hospitals

Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust

Dorset University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Royal Cornish Hospitals National Health Service Trust

Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust

North Bristol NHS Trust

Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust

Somerset NHS Foundation Fund

South West Ambulance Service NHS has found trust

West Midlands

Worcestershire Acute Hospitais NHS Trust

Birmingham University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Der Royal Orthopedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Birmingham Women's and Children's National Health Service Foundation Fund

Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Yorkshire y Humber

Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

York and Scarborough NHS Foundation Teaching Hospitals Trust

Harrogate und District NHS Foundation Trust

Der Leeds University Hospitals NHS Trust

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Sheffield Children's National Health Service Foundation Trust


East Midlands Ambulance Service

northeast ambulance

North West Ambulance Service

West Midlands Ambulance Service

Southeast Coast Ambulance Service

Center-South Ambulance Service

South West Ambulance Service

Yorkshire Ambulance

Wales Ambulance Service

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