Jeremy Hunt vows to close NHS doctors gender pay gap

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Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has launched a review into how NHS doctors are paid in a bid to close the 15% gender pay gap that exists.

The review will look at why male doctors employed by the NHS in England are paid on average £10,000 more than female doctors. Male doctors receive an average of £67,788 in basic pay, compared with £57,569 for female doctors – a difference of 15%.

The gender pay gap across NHS as a whole is 23%, despite women forming the majority of its workforce. Hunt said women make up more than half of all junior doctor roles, but there were more highly-paid male doctors than female doctors on higher rates of pay.

Led by Professor Jane Dacre, president of the Royal College of Physicians, the review will look into the reasons why there were more men in senior positions and the barriers preventing more women from reaching higher-paid roles.

The review will also consider:

  • working patterns and the effect they have on those in the medical profession
  • the impact of motherhood on career progression
  • care arrangements and their affordability for those in the NHS
  • access to flexible working
  • the factors affecting the uptake of shared parental leave
  • geographical issues, and
  • rewards payments.

Hunt 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.

“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.”

Anthea Mowat, representative body chair of the British Medical Association, hoped the review would “scrutinise these ongoing barriers and lead to policy changes that will benefit women doctors at all stages of their careers”.

The Royal College of Physicians’ Dacre described the gender pay gap in the NHS as “unacceptable” and said the Government owed it to female junior doctors and medical school entrants, who had made a commitment to the future of the NHS, to “ensure they are treated fairly”.

Around nine in 10 public sector organisations had a gender pay gap last year, with men paid 14% more than women, on average.

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