NHS consultant pay scale in England

The NHS consultant pay scale in England is one of the most straightforward of all the NHS pay scales for doctors in England. This blog will outline how much NHS consultants get paid, the difference between fixed-term and substantive pay scales and additional earnings outside of a consultant salary. Whether you’re a recently qualified consultant starting in your first consultant job or want to know how your experience outside of a UK-approved training programme will be measured, we’ve got you covered.

An NHS consultant’s salary can be calculated by looking at the NHS consultant pay scales, types of contracts, experience and any additional rewards or awards.

You can learn more about each area in detail and calculate a complete NHS consultant salary below.

Pay scale for consultants working for NHS England

Consultant pay scales
ThresholdYears completedBasic salary (£)

How much do NHS consultants get paid?

NHS consultants are paid a basic salary between £93,666 and £126,281 depending on where they sit on the NHS consultant’s pay scale. NHS consultants’ salaries are broken down into eight different thresholds, each threshold represents an uplift in basic pay.

In the first five years of working for the NHS, consultants are eligible to move to the next pay scale threshold and increase their annual basic salary every 12 months.

After that, NHS consultants are only eligible to move to the next threshold every five years. While consultants remain at the same threshold, they still receive salary increases which are a result of annual NHS pay scale reviews.

The top of the NHS consultant pay scale is threshold eight which represents 19 years completed as a consultant and a total basic salary of £126,281.

How much do international consultants get paid?

International consultants who are trained and qualified overseas will have their relevant experience reviewed to see which threshold they will be appointed to on the NHS consultant’s pay scale. This may vary depending on the qualification, experience, NHS trust, and role applied for.

How much do consultants without CCT get paid?

Consultants without a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) are usually aligned to the basic starting salary of £93,666. Equally, some trusts will only consider the years practiced in the relevant specialty when hiring a consultant. Consultants without CCT can only take up locum posts and not permanent roles.

What’s the difference in pay scales between a substantive NHS consultant and a locum consultant?

There is no difference in basic salary in the pay scales for substantive and locum NHS consultants.  A substantive contract has the pay scale code YC72 and has no end date, while a locum contract has the code YC73 and is a fixed-term contract for up to 3 years. The NHS consultant pay scale applies to both substantive and fixed-term contracts.

Earnings outside of the NHS consultant pay scale

Other ways a consultant can increase their earnings are through Local Clinical Excellence Awards (CEAs) and National Clinical Impact Awards (NCIAs).

Local Clinical Excellence Awards (LCEAs)

NHS consultants in England who go above and beyond their normal duties are recognised and rewarded with a Local Clinical Excellence Award (LCEA). The value of the award can range between £3,016 and £36,192.

National Clinical Impact Awards (NCIAs)

NHS consultants in England can enter an annual competition to win a National Clinical Impact Award from the Advisory Committee on Clinical Impact Awards (ACCIA). The value of the awards is based on three levels:

Level 1£20,000
Level 2£30,000
Level 3£40,000

NHS consultant pay scale in summary

The NHS consultant pay scale is a clearly defined pay scale which outlines a consultant’s basic salary and incremental pay increases over 19 years. NHS consultants who have consultant experience already may join the scale on a different threshold, but most doctors will join at a £93,666 basic salary representing threshold one. The other ways a consultant can increase their salaries include recognition and awards which add a lump sum to the annual salary that year.

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This article was originally written in January 2024 and relates to the NHS consultant pay scales for 2023/2024. Pay scales are updated annually and this article will be updated again when the 2024/2025 NHS consultant pay scales are announced.

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