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Female GPs earn 13% less than men

Female GPs are earning an average of 13% less than their male counterparts and face discrimination and sometimes ‘hostile' working environments, BMA-funded research has found.

The differential equates to more than £11,000 a year, says the report,

The Pay Gap for Women in Medicine and Academic Medicine.

Professor Anita Holdcroft, emeritus professor at Imperial College London and research partner Dr Sara Connolly, an economics lecturer at the University of East Anglia, analysed data concerning the salaries, ages and sexes of more than 1,000 doctors, including about 70 GPs. Those working part time were asked to estimate a full time equivalent salary.

Pay differentials among other medical disciplines are even starker however, averaging 18 per cent (see box).

The researchers urged GP practices to conduct salary or gender pay ‘audits' to ensure compliance with gender equality legislation.

One possible explanation for the differences is that women are ‘poor or unwilling' negotiators concerning pay, the report states. Sometimes women are perceived as having a lack of mobility – because they tend to move home in line with their husbands' careers – and this is identified by some pay-setters as weakening women's bargaining strength.

Professor Holdcroft said: ‘Our results clearly show that men and women with identical experience are paid differently – which suggests evidence of discrimination. I had until now felt confident in my belief that there was a fair and robust pay structure in place in medicine that ensured equality. Our report shows that this is not so and there is a need for exploration of the reasons for this disparity.'

Dr Dominique Thompson, a female GP and director of Avon LMC, said: ‘If the report does highlight true discrimination and there is a genuine pay gap then I feel it should be investigated by the BMA. Otherwise the situation will demoralise female staff.'

A BMA spokesperson said: ‘The BMA intends to continue to push for this matter to be resolved by managers and local health bodies so that all women get a fair deal. We will also continue to represent our members on individual cases of sexual discrimination and pay related issues.'

The findings come a month after a separate Government report claiming female GPs were being deprived of contractual rights, denied maternity support and were missing out on leadership roles have prompted.

The report, Women doctors: making a difference, prepared by Baroness Deech, found employment rights in general practice were heavily stacked against women and said discriminatory practices, such as deliberately offering women short-term salaried contracts to deny them full NHS entitlements, were rife.

Dr Tonia Myers, a GP principal in Highams Park, London, said that part-time GPs often lose can lose out on full seniority payments because they do not reach the threshold to qualify. This affects women more than men because women are more likely to be part time workers.

If there is genuine discrimintation is should be investigated Dr Dominique Thompson

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