latest health care news


Paramedics receive ‘long overdue’ upgrade to Band 6 pay

The Department of Health, NHS Employers and ambulance unions have agreed that paramedics’ salaries will be re-banded nationally, potentially giving them a pay increase of up to £14,000 as they progress. 

The new deal will see paramedics in England move up the NHS pay scale from Band 5 (circa £21,000 to £28,000) to Band 6 (£26,000 to £35,000) where appropriate, with new paramedics appointed after September 2016 to have a maximum two-year learning period at Band 5 before moving up.

The change will initially be funded by the DH, NHS England and NHS Improvement before transitioning over to agreements between ambulance trusts and commissioners. The changes have already been rolled out at several NHS England ambulance trusts with the remainder to follow.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said of the deal: “Our dedicated paramedics do a vital job helping patients when they need it most so I’m very pleased that we have agreed a new pay deal with unions.

“In recognition of their increased responsibilities we have agreed to look at re-banding around 12,000 paramedics where their job description matches the requirements of the new Band 6 profile, moving them up the pay scale and making sure we are able to better recruit and retain paramedics in the future to ensure patients will continue to get the very best care.”

The deal looks to recognise and reward the increased clinical expertise of paramedics, whose service will gradually transform from one based on transportation to that of mobile clinical assessment and treatment in order to reduce operational and financial pressure on hospitals.

This builds on recommendations made in the Urgent and Emergency Care Review undertaken by NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh in 2013, which are now being implemented across England.

Ken Wenman, lead chief executive of the Association of Chief Executives and chief executive of South Western Ambulance Service NHS FT, said: “We are really pleased that this agreement on pay banding has been reached, which recognises the additional clinical skills and knowledge ambulance paramedics now have and will continue to develop.

“Patients will undoubtedly benefit from this important decision as ambulance services across the country help to transform urgent and emergency care services in England, treating more patients outside busy hospitals.”

The decision has been welcomed by several trade unions, who were pleased that paramedics will finally be appropriately rewarded for their “highly skilled, stressful and often dangerous” work in saving lives.

Sharon Holder, GMB national officer, said that the move was long overdue after “a decade of poor pay and poor recognition of paramedic skill sets”, while Unite’s national officer for health Sarah Carpenter was equally pleased after the union had spent “a number of years raising concerns”.

Unison’s head of health Christina McAnea, however, warned that the re-banding alone may not solve the “drain of paramedics from the ambulance service”, although she acknowledged that it would help trusts hang onto more experienced staff.

The unions will now work with each other and with ambulance employers to make sure that the agreement is properly implemented.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an NHE columnist? If so, click here.


Stephen Gilbert   09/12/2016 at 15:09

Can you please also recognise & sort out the fantastic clinical work Emergency Medical TECHNICIANS do & get their pay upgraded from band 4 to band 5 to fall in line with this obvious acceptance that you have now made knowing that all Ambulance front line staff have been in the wrong pay band since AFC was implemented back in 2004 . Also what about some back pay !!!! Thank you. RSVP.

Tina   09/12/2016 at 15:36

Technicians WERE banded as five in the Lincolnshire division, it all got very messy, bully boy tactics and swept under the carpet. I was on that panel and saw the under handed way it was dealt with. This is great news for the paramedics, but agree with Stephen,,,,,let's start to recognise the hard working technicians that DO supervise and WORK SOLELY on occasions.

Tina   09/12/2016 at 15:39

Oh and I have the evidence to state this fact.

David   09/12/2016 at 17:43

Fantastic new for paramedics but a kick in the teeth for supervisors as the extra responsibilities we are given are not recognized by either the ambulance service or the unions.

Tom   09/12/2016 at 18:14

The majority of ambulance trusts had already recognised Band 5 as being inadequate to recruit and retain paramedics, hence already having a local Band 6 agreement in place. Unfortunately this national agreement is worse for staff than the existing local agreements, and will mean some paramedics waiting 2 years post qualification for their pay rise when the existing local agreement would have mandated a move to Band 6 within 12 months. Given that the new agreement states 'up to' 2 years, lets hope that special provision is made for those newly qualified paramedics who were previously Technicians or ECAs (often with 10+ years experience in the job).

Andrea   09/12/2016 at 19:43

I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for this to be implemented though out the country. It's about time both paramedics AND technicians get the recognition they deserve. x

Leslie   09/12/2016 at 19:44

All ambulance staff should be re banded as the job has totaly changed in the last 10 years not only paramedics are poorly paid. Control room staff work very hard under imense stress and pressure to deliver the best service we can when we are under funded and under staffed

Leslie   09/12/2016 at 19:45

All ambulance staff should be re banded as the job has totaly changed in the last 10 years not only paramedics are poorly paid. Control room staff work very hard under imense stress and pressure to deliver the best service we can when we are under funded and under staffed

George Buchan   09/12/2016 at 20:29

Was ambulance technician for 32 years. Now patient transport. Banding should be for all grades. Pts band 4. Tech 5. para 6. And every wage back dated to 2004 as this was a shambles when banded ambulance staff,

Amazed   09/12/2016 at 20:57


Robert   09/12/2016 at 21:02

Get rid of the Technician role and replace with Care Assistants to help fund the Paramedic pay rise? As a Technician I am now rather worried! Paranoid........maybe but with good reason.

Michael   09/12/2016 at 21:18

Fantastic news, long over due. But what about the technicians and ecas? Still working at band 3/4 and quite a lot of time making up crews without a paramedic?!? A big kick in the teeth for these clinicians attending the same patient as paras, most of the time without back up, but doing it without the pay?!?

Jim   09/12/2016 at 21:51

Technicians should now ask for Paramedic assistance for every red call unless they get a band 5. They should not baby sit the new T3 members of staff either. We all move up a band or I can see big trouble. Enough is enough it's a team game after all.

Bs   09/12/2016 at 22:19

EMT can't be band 5 a newly qualified nurse with a degree and 3 years at university only gets 5 so they can't match EMT up as they do not have equal qualifications. I'd like to see it happen and for everyone to get an increase I just can't see it happening as nurses would likely walk out!!!

Greg   10/12/2016 at 00:29

Are you serious??? Nurses suffer a pay freeze for more than 10 years, the government make it mandatory for them to complete a level 6 honours degree and yet they're kept as a band 5 whilst paramedics are made a 6!!! For what? A bog standard foundation degree and a minimum of 32 weeks training. Even their own governing body recognises the limitations of knowledge, hence the inability to become independent prescribers. And as for technicians being a band 5, don't make me laugh. How long do they train for, 4, maybe 5 weeks? They're not registered with any governing body for gods sake. What an absolute joke. What's next, porters promoted to 8a? Jeremy Hunt seriously does not know what he's doing.

Robert Belfitt   10/12/2016 at 02:11

I like many disillusioned ambulance practitioners , no longer work for the NHS ... I started my career working on PTS with Derbyshire Ambulance Service, earning (1996 - 2000) less than 5 pounds per hour , despite having A levels and appropriate experience, in 2000 / 2001 I completed an IHCD / NHS TD / Miller qualification , and proceeded to do my trainee year , moving , on completion to a staggering !!!!!! Trust salary (2002 - 2008) of 22,500 ish pounds for a 40.8 hour working week. During this period I worked in a semi rural / urban area covering, roughly, the peak district as far south as Derby , as far east as Lincolnshire , as far north as south Yorkshire , and as far west as Manchester ! In today's speak , I worked as an autonomous/semi autonomous clinician , making clinical decisions ( With little or no, paramedic /doctor/management control or input) often involving complex medical / trauma assessments , in short life or death decisions...... Bring in state registration for paramedics ( minimum requirements) being an IHCD Technician, with 2 years post qualification experience , plus completion of the IHCD paramedic course .... amounting to 2-3 years (minimum)full time practical experience,often exceeding 7 -8 years, plus 30 weeks or so training/ theoretical experience..... fast forward to 2016 Paramedic registration ...2 -3 years university ( 300 - 900 hrs practical placements ) .... No or little clinical responsibility .... and experience ..... but got diploma/degree or, both , guess who gets band 6 ... . DIPLOMA / DEGREE PLUS practice ..... I'm not an academic nor am I clever.... I can't punctuate a sentence correctly , nor can I write 10,000 words on the use of intubation v supra glotic devices.... I can, however , explain in less than 30 words , the loss of an airway in a viable patient .... in fact in just one word .... DEAD......WHO DO WANT IN AN EMERGENCY .......I want somebody trained , with experience ,and an ability to see outside of the box and who above all puts me first , Someone who cares.....

John   10/12/2016 at 05:17

It's brilliant that band 5 paramedics are finally being put on the right band that they should have been put on in the first place, because of their clinical skill levels. I.e intubation, giving and managing a who host of drugs independently under PGDs/ JRCALC under stressful situation, seeing, treating and discharging patients indecently. What is a complete joke is that people who are working as Officers, Specalist paramedics in urgent care or Critical Care Paramedic are being told that they will be working at the same pay rate as those paramedics relieving the pay award. Who is really willing to slog their guts out with extra responsability or risk to their registration or even complete further degrees for not recognition or pay increase !!!! There is already talk in my place of work of resigning to the level as a normal paramedic because of this !!!!! Lets face it who needs the extra stress for not extra recognition !!!!

Lee   11/12/2016 at 10:08

Now now Greg, sour grapes!! Of course we deserve band 6. But then again I feel all front line NHS staff deserve a pay rise given the pressures we work under. I work as a Paramedic but am also a registered Nurse and can honestly say though both jobs are challenging I have found the former more so. I never had to deal with paediatric cardiac arrests etc on my own while working as a Nurse whereas I have many times as a Paramedic. I have 2 Diplomas, a teaching qualification and a Degree. Had I stayed in full time Nursing I would probably be band 7 by now as opportunities to advance are more frequent than in the Ambulance Service. Would I change it, not a chance as I love my job and am very passionate about it and the work we all do in the NHS. But lets be fair and let the salary reflect the profession. Should I be paid band 6 and are Paramedics finally getting the recognition they deserve? DAMN RIGHT!!

Richard   11/12/2016 at 13:31

Urgent care assistants in wales are a band 3 this certainly isnt right, the same grading as patient transport??????

Michael   11/12/2016 at 17:19

I agree Lee, I and several other colleagues joined the ambulance service from nursing. The training and day to day work is far more onerous as a paramedic and the responsibility of being 'it' at highly complex cases is not generally replicated in nursing, certainly not at equivalent grades. I do worry about the knock on effect for supervisors and managers as there is no incentive to take on even more responsibility within the pay structure.

Junior Charge Nurse - A&E   13/12/2016 at 12:45

As an A&E nurse (band 6 incidentally) can I just point out that Greg's comments are not representative of how his nursing colleagues feel towards paramedics and ambulance technicians? I am married to an EMT (on band 4) who undertook 15 weeks training, plus 1500 mentored hours on the front line with an experienced paramedic. She frequently works alone on a response car, gives 15 different drugs independently, autonomously treats and discharges patients on scene and makes futility decisions regarding patients in cardiac arrest. As a band 6 nurse in A&E, all of the above is out of my scope of practice and at least senior registrar level in my department. Paramedics would be band 7 and ambulance technicians would be band 6 on clinical autonomy grounds alone if their scope of practice was transferred to the in-hospital nursing arena. This pay rise is well overdue and still woefully inadequate.

Add your comment


national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us throu more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News


NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental ... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >


Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

How to help patients manage the psychology of chronic conditions

20/03/2020How to help patients manage the psychology of chronic conditions

Indie Dhariwal, Wellbeing Facilitator at Living Well Taking Control Living with a chronic condition puts huge pressure on both the body and mind. Not only can it pre... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >