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Review into medical gender pay gap launched

Female doctors earn an average of £10,000 less than their male counterparts, according to figures from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

In order to establish the cause of the gender pay gap within the profession, health secretary Jeremy Hunt has launched a review, led by Professor Jane Dacre, president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP).

Although women make up most of the NHS workforce, men hold the majority of senior roles, and despite making up over half of all students starting medical school, just one third of the 48,000 consultants in the NHS are female, leading to a 15% gender pay gap in the medical workforce.

The review will examine the drivers behind the gap and identify obstacles that prevent female doctors from progressing in their careers.

Points examined by the review will include the impact of having children on careers and progression, working patterns, care arrangements, access to flexible working, shared parental leave, the predominance of men in senior roles and the impact of clinical excellence awards.

Announcing the review, Hunt said that he was “determined to eliminate” the pay gap, which “has no place in a modern employer or the NHS.”

He said: “The NHS holds a unique position in both British and global society as a shining beacon of equality among all, and so it is unacceptable that 70 years from its creation its own staff still face gender inequality.”

Hunt continued: “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.”

However, the junior doctor contract imposed by the health secretary has previously been criticised for discriminating against female doctors by increasing the time taken to reach a new post following maternity leave.

Professor Dacre said that she was “delighted” to have been asked to lead on the review, adding: “Previous reports and initiatives have identified many of the root causes, so there is no shortage of evidence about this unacceptable situation.”

She continued: “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.”

Anthea Mowat, British Medical Association (BMA) representative body chair, said that the BMA has played a “key role” in establishing the review.

“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.”

“There has been a lot of progress for female doctors in the 70 years since the NHS was founded – 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,” she said.

Top image: CalypsoArt


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