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National review into gender pay gap in medicine

Male doctors paid £10,000 more than female doctors

Adrian O'Dowd

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

The government has launched a doctor-led review into the gap in pay between male and female clinicians, promising to eliminate the gender pay gap in medicine.

Health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt announced details of the review yesterday saying it would be led by Professor Jane Dacre, president of the Royal College of Physicians.

The NHS has an overall gender pay gap of 23%, despite the fact that it employs far more women than men.

Official estimates say that in medical professions including doctors, there is a gender pay gap of 15% and male doctors are paid, on average, £67,788 in basic pay, compared to the £57,569 female doctors receive – a difference of more than £10,000.

Although more than half of people entering the medical workforce are male, at the higher end of the career ladder, there are more male doctors than female doctors.

The new review will consider the drivers behind the gap and the obstacles that stop a female doctor progressing her NHS career in the same way as male counterparts, such as:

  • working patterns and their impact on those in the medical profession
  • impact of motherhood on careers and progression
  • care arrangements and their affordability, and issues around being a carer
  • access to flexible working
  • shared parental leave
  • identify factors that are resulting in a slow uptake
  • predominance of men in senior roles
  • impact of Clinical Excellence Awards.
Whilst the review will focus on the NHS medical profession, it is expected to have wider implications for the rest of the NHS and key recommendations could be rolled out across all staff groups.

Mr Hunt said: “It is unacceptable that 70 years from its creation, the NHS’s own staff still face gender inequality.

“Even today, there remains a 15% gap between the pay of our male and female doctors – this has no place in a modern employer or the NHS and I’m determined to eliminate this gap.

“I’m delighted Jane Dacre - one of the most highly respected female medics in the NHS – has agreed to lead this important review and is perfectly placed to examine the barriers that stop our talented female doctors climbing to the top rung in the NHS career ladder.”

Professor Dacre said: “Previous reports and initiatives have identified many of the root causes, so there is no shortage of evidence about this unacceptable situation.

“I am grateful for the government’s commitment to act on the recommendations of the review, not just for women doctors now, but for our future workforce. Over 50% of medical school entrants are women, and we owe it to them and their future commitment to the NHS to ensure they are treated fairly.”

Dr Anthea Mowat, BMA representative body chair, said: “Women now make up almost half of the medical profession, and the majority of students and trainees are female. However, they are still underrepresented in the top jobs and women still face all kinds of barriers during their careers.

“The BMA has played a key role in establishing this review and we hope that it will scrutinise these ongoing barriers and lead to policy changes that will benefit women doctors at all stages of their careers.”

The review is expected to conclude at the end of 2018.

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