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Gender pay gap: Top women doctors earn thousands less than men

A gender pay gap amongst the highest ranks of NHS doctors sees top females earning an average £14,000 a year less than their male colleagues.

Just five out of the 100 top-earning NHS consultants in England are female, despite women making up a third of the total workforce.

Figures obtained by the BBC from health trusts, the government and NHS Digital showed that:

  • The top-earning male consultant in England earned £739,460, compared to £281,616 for the best-paid woman;
  • On average, full-time male consultants earned £127,683 – almost £14,000 more than full-time women;
  • Six-and-a-half times as many men as women in England and Wales get the top platinum award bonus worth £77,000 a year.

But the pay gap shrank from £14,000 to £1,500 when overtime and bonuses were taken out, suggesting that some of the difference could be due to men working longer hours.

Dr Anthea Mowat, the BMA representative body chair, argued that there was still a long way to go to achieve parity.

“Last year the government announced an independent review of how the gender pay gap can be eliminated in medicine and we’d like to see it start as soon as possible,” she said.

“With women making up the majority of medical graduates in recent years, it’s vitally important that we address the root causes of the gender pay gap, and develop a wider programme of work to eliminate it across the medical workforce.”

The Royal College of Physicians' president, Prof Jane Dacre, added: "We all need to do more to support women in the workforce. Ensuring they get the same opportunities for overtime, progression and awards."

The latest figures come just one day after NHE reported a decline in GP numbers towards the end of 2017.

NHS Digital figures showed the number of family doctors fell to 33,872 in December from 34,091 in September.

Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, RCGP chair, said the workload in general practice had increased by at least 16% over the last seven years, but the number of GPs had not risen in line with this.

“GPs are the cornerstone of our NHS – a system which is the envy of the world – but there is a limit to what we can do and there simply aren’t enough of us to deliver the safe care our patients need and deserve,” she concluded.

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The Truth   16/02/2018 at 12:56

"But the pay gap shrank from £14,000 to £1,500 when overtime and bonuses were taken out, suggesting that some of the difference could be due to men working longer hours" So basically, to close the pay gap, either the women need to work longer hours or they need to be unlawfully paid more than their male counterparts. What exactly is the issue here?

Mike Noble   16/02/2018 at 14:28

The fallacious "gender pay gap" implies that men are paid more because they are men. This is untrue and is even refuted in the article, the gap falls to £1500 when overtime and bonuses are taken out. That men and women, or any other groups you care to analyse, EARN different amounts on average should be surprising to no one and is in fact evidence of freedom of choice of individuals in the population at work. The only way you can manipulate earnings so that men and women, on average, receive the same, is to remove that freedom of choice and force women to work longer, choose higher paying specialisations, take less time off work, don't have children etc etc.

Laylaa   16/02/2018 at 14:45

Having worked in the NHS here & Australia, in hospital & GP settings, the major issue for retention & promotion for women centres on England's inflexible family unfriendly working schedules! Both nurses & doctors are forced to work mostly long 12 hour plus shifts. No options for job shares or flexible hours like Australia seems to offer as 'normal' option! School holidays also major issues. Specialist doctors with years of training & experience forced to take a "career break" or staying in junior positions ( to fit around family life) are sadly common. Usually women. Usually return to more junior positions than their experience warrants as flexible hours, less weekends & antisocial hours or less shift work. It's why most female Consultants I've worked with over nearly 30 years-are either unmarried or childless. Retention relies on new work hours- job shares, 'school time contracts' for Parents of young children. A 24 hour flexible family friendly NHS!!

James Manson   16/02/2018 at 15:39

Usual nonsense - media desperate for a headline. The NHS has national rates of pay. If any group, however defined, is making more money than another group, they are either doing more work (extra sessions etc which I suspect men are more likely to do) or are more senior and have more discretionary points etc. No surprise that the 'pay gap' essentially disappeared when overtime/bonuses taken out. A non story

Dr Frances Naylor   16/02/2018 at 15:58

Has there been any measurement of "quality of life" or "time with those you love" gap? If so are women still the losers or not? There seems to be an insistence that women are doing something wrong, when it appears be men that are losing out on more important measures. Perhaps men need more mentorship, leadership, training opportunities and more flexible working opportunities to help them achieve better, more productive and enjoyable lives, with greater contribution to their local communities and to raising the next generation. This will help them be more productive in the work place and be more cost-effective NHS employees. Paying people for very long hours is not a good use of NHS resources. The often patronising attitude towards women's choices underestimates our intelligence and undermines our self esteem. Stating that it is women who need "help" is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Still this is a very interesting article, thank-you for bringing this out into the open.

Dr Jeremy Rees   18/02/2018 at 12:17

I do not know where the figure of £127683 for an 'average' full time male consultant comes from. I am a male consultant now at the top of the NHS scale working 12PAs with some CEAs and I'm nowhere near 127K

Ian Appleby   21/02/2018 at 13:20

Can someone please explain to me how someone (don't care whether they are male or female) can be paid £760,000 whilst working for the NHS. This is simply immoral and both doctor and trust should be ashamed!

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