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Survey shows 'ethnic pay gap' among consultants

White doctors basic pay revealed to be nearly 5% higher

Mark Gould

Thursday, 06 September 2018

The BMA has responded angrily to new research* which reveals a significant gap between the pay of black and minority ethnic (BME) consultants and their white colleagues in England.

The research published in The BMJ today ,was carried out by respected economist Dr John Appleby, the director of research and chief economist at the Nuffield Trust.

He found that while the lack of a significant pay gap for most doctor grades was encouraging, a larger gap exists among consultants with the mean basic pay for white consultants 4.9% higher than for BME consultants.

This is equivalent to additional basic pay in December 2017 of £387 —or, scaled up, around £4644 a year—for white consultants.

A more detailed breakdown shows that median basic pay for white consultants is higher than for all other ethnic groups—varying from around 3.5% higher than black/black British consultants, to over 6% higher than mixed or dual heritage consultants.

Dr Appleby said, the ethnic pay gap among consultants will be driven by several factors including differences in the age profile of white and BME consultants.

"White consultants tend to be older, and if age is taken as a proxy for experience, and experience is positively linked to remuneration, then we would expect to see some difference in pay. However, there will be other explanations too—some warranted, others not so much. These, as with the gender pay gap, are worth investigating further."

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said the study confirms that BME doctors "continue to face unacceptable barriers, penalties and discrimination in the NHS".

"It cannot be right that in 21st century Britain there are such wide gaps in pay between white and BME doctors in senior posts when irrespective of their background, they hold positions to deliver the same care to patients.

“It unfortunately comes at a time when BME doctors are continuing to suffer from other forms of discrimination, with only 7% of senior managers in the NHS coming from BME backgrounds and staff surveys showing that BME doctors feel they are at greater risk of harassment and bullying.

“The BMA will continue to loudly and robustly campaign for all doctors to be treated equally. We recently organised a summit of leading stakeholders to address the challenges facing our BME workforce. The government and the NHS must take this issue seriously and tackle all forms of discrimination within the health service.”

*Appleby J. Ethnic pay gap among NHS doctors. BMJ 2018;362:k3586

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