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GP gender pay gap 'far higher' than average at 33%, finds Government review

Male GPs earn 33% more than their female counterparts, according to a major review of the gender pay gap in the NHS.

Interim results from the Department of Health and Social Care-commissioned review, published today, found the gender pay gap in general practice is 'far higher than the average in medicine'.

The results also showed a lack of women represented in senior medical grades across the NHS, with women over-represented in lower-paid specialties. 

The interim report from the review - the full findings of which will be published in September - said: 'The general practice gender pay gap is 33% - far higher than the average in medicine.'

The report also showed:

  • Male doctors earning £1.17 for every £1 earned by female doctors in the NHS, with two in three consultants being men
  • There is a lack of women represented in senior medical grades, with nearly 32,000 male consultants to just 18,000 female
  • Although two-thirds of doctors in training grades are women the number drops to less than half in consultant grades
  • Women are over represented in lower paid specialties, such as public health and occupational health, while being under represented in the highest paying specialties including urology and surgery
  • There is variation across medical specialities, with male-dominated specialties such as urology showing a higher gender pay gap

Review lead Professor Dame Jane Dacre - former president of the Royal College of Physicians - said: 'Our research shows that the gender pay gap in medicine is slowly narrowing, but with more to do. The findings of the review will help us to work with government, employers and the profession to identify and understand the main contributors to the gap, and to explore ways to reduce it, based on our evidence.'

BMA GP Committee sessional chair Dr Zoe Norris said: ‘Assuming that the review is comparing like for like, I think is surprising and shocking and really disappointing. There is no excuse for that gap, a GP is a GP, and from the day we qualify we are doing that job.

‘Gender should not make a difference, and if it is then I just think that is inexcusable. I would encourage all colleagues to look at what they are earning and talk openly about it with their colleagues, and make sure this is not happening.’

Health minister Stephen Hammond said: 'The founding principle of the NHS is to treat everyone equally, yet women employed in the health service are still experiencing inequality. 

'It’s disappointing to see that the numbers show that two thirds of senior medics are men despite more women starting training and it is essential we understand the underlying causes of the gender pay gap if we are to eradicate it from modern workplaces like the NHS. 

'Senior doctors and managers have an important role to play in breaking down barriers and championing equality as role models or mentors so aspiring doctors know they are joining a health service that encourages more women to reach their full potential.' 

The final review will identify the impact of cultural, practical and psychological issues that contribute to the gender pay gap in medicine.

The research, which is being conducted by gender pay expert Professor Carol Woodhams and analysts from the University of Surrey, involved an in-depth analysis of anonymised pay data, evidence obtained from interviews conducted with medics at various career stages, and an online survey of 40,000 doctors. 

Last year, NHS England published its first gender pay gap report, which found an average gender pay gap of 21% - as of 31 March 2017.

BMJ-funded research previously reported female GPs earn an average of 13% less than their male counterparts and face discrimination and sometimes ‘hostile' working environments.

Readers' comments (25)

  • If they could show an instance where the pay RATE was different between men and woman, there would be some tiny basis for this shrillness

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  • Have they looked at productivity? Do male GPs take on more partnership and directorship roles (more risk = more pay)? Do female GPs do the same amount of procedures as male ones (as fee for service work tends to be better remunerated)? Are both genders doing the same amount of full time work? This review raises more questions than answers.

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  • I don't understand. I don't pay locums according to their gender. Thats not quite true--if they do coils etc they get paid more. Of course those doctors are usually female.

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  • Idealogically driven BS. Funded by the unknowing taxpayer of course. Say it with me - That's what you get with socialised healthcare and state intervention.

    Nobody is forcing the ladies to take lower risk/paid specialties. Or to avoid more work intensive ones.

    "BMA GP Committee sessional chair Dr Zoe Norris said: ‘Assuming that the review is comparing like for like" - I would bet my house that it doesn't compare rate, or risk, or personality preferences, or anything 'like for like' etc etc

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  • Personally I have never understood how there can be a pay gap other than due to working hours and roles. We have never paid female partners any different. The data is just manipulated to show things that are not real I suspect. All doctors should be paid the same irrespective of gender as a doctor is a doctor it is just some of us worker longer hours than others

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  • I would advise that the government also review the race gap. If your OpenExeter statement says your total payment units are a 1000 higher than the weighted list, you cannot pay BME GPs only the weighted list size. It is pathetic that - Open Exeter, PCSE, NHSE , CCG all under FOI state that they 'do not hold this information about which Practices are paid and which are not'. No wonder we are in a - not just in NHS! Statements are not produced by BMEs, they come from Open Exeter who does not hold this data and payments come from CCGs and NHSE via Capita who also do not hold this information, Blimey, we have ghosts deciding our payments !!

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  • Government statistic tend to be toy-town statistics.It would be useful to have a link to this research so that it can be critically appraised do we trust anything issued from this current government?

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  • There is no gap in pay between men and women for the same job. This has been illegal since the 70’s and I don’t see it in our profession. The gender pay gap is a result of personal choices people make in what they do and how they work. The problem in fixing it is that it will involve manipulating people to make different choices - overtly possibly but more likely through subtle manipulative nudges.

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  • Time for women to step up and take a 50% share of the unsocial jobs!

    Disappointing the BMA representative should respond in such an inflammatory way. Don't 'assume' anything. Perhaps look at the demographics further before making an angry comment.

    Any sensible person would 'assume' that children are likely to be the driving factor in pay differences.

    If a pay gap did exist then men would be unemployed because women are cheaper...according to the tabloid statistics.

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  • @Holy Smoke
    Agree with comment on rate.
    I can't imagine they are looking at partnerships here as this should all be pro-rata.

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