Male doctors in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) earn 17% more, on average, than their female peers. The Guardian reports that this is according to the biggest ever study of gender pay in the public sector, which found that female GPs experience the greatest disparity.
The report says the stark differentials have led to renewed calls for action to help female medics realise their full earning potential and close the salary gap. Female doctors working in or outside hospitals in the NHS in England typically earn £1,166 less a month than their male counterparts, according to in-depth research commissioned by the government.
The review, led by Professor Dame Jane Dacre, also found that male consultants – senior doctors – in the service outnumber female ones by almost two to one, despite the growing numbers of women going into medicine.
Dacre, an ex-president of the Royal College of Physicians, said in an interim update of her work that the gender pay gap “is slowly narrowing, but with more to do”.
The report says the review is seeking “to identify the impact of cultural, practical and psychological issues that contribute to the gender pay gap in medicine”. While there are 32,000 male consultants, just 18,000 female doctors have reached that status.
The report says the research underlying Dacre’s conclusions was done by Professor Carol Woodhams, an expert in gender pay inequality, and academics from Surrey University. It involved analysis of anonymised pay data, interviews with medics of different levels of seniority and an online survey of 40,000 doctors.
They also found that: women are over-represented in medical specialities that involve lower pay, such as public health and occupational health, but under-represented in better-paid areas of expertise, including surgery; specialities dominated by men, such as urology, have a wider gender pay gap than others; and motherhood and women’s career progression while working either part-time or irregular hours are factors involved in the gender pay gap.
“The findings to date confirm that the gender pay gap facing women medics is real, large and gets worse the longer you work in the NHS,” said consultant anaesthetist Dr Claudia Paoloni, the chair of the hospital doctors’ union the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association. “We need fair treatment for female-dominated specialities and in how promotions take place, we need to remove barriers to progression facing main carers, and we need to ensure reward schemes don’t disadvantage less than full-time or flexible working,” Paoloni added.
The report says health think-tanks have urged the NHS to tackle significant gender and ethnic pay gaps in order to help reverse its deepening staffing crisis.
[link url="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/mar/29/male-nhs-doctors-earn-17-more-than-their-female-peers"]The Guardian report[/link]