It so much depends where you work. I was in an acute medical unit where, as the senior RN, I was overall responsible for up to 16 patients!!! I had 2 nursing attendants who are trained to a higher level than you are used to in the USA, so they did vitals & assisted with care. However, my drug round alone (which traditionally in many UK hospitals is done by 1 RN) took up to 2 hours!!! We also had to clean beds & lockers when pts were discharged plus serve, give out & help pts with all meals. I wouldn't want to go back to that for all the tea in China!
In the private hopistal (where I worked in med/surg) our ratio was 1:5 with no other help, it was way better though.
Personally I think the UK pay is completely rubbish, especially in context with the cost of living there. I'm out of it now & can compare. Basically now it's more buck & more bang for my buck!