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Female GPs ‘earn 80-85%’ of male GP pay for same hours worked

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GPs have the highest gender pay gap among doctors working in the NHS, an independent review has found, with women earning significantly less than men.

Part-time working accounted for some of the gap as did the fact women were more likely to be in salaried roles rather than working as a contractor where the pay difference was less pronounced, the analysis showed.

Yet even after accounting for different working patterns, the gender pay gap for GPs ‘remains substantial’ with women being paid 80-85% of men’s pay for the same hours.

Overall the most recent data from 16,000 GPs found a gender pay gap of 33.5% for GPs compared with 24.4% for hospital doctors and 21.4% for clinical academics.

Yet 55% of registered GPs are women and with current trends female doctors will soon outnumber men across the health service, according to the review which was commissioned in 2017 by then health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

To redress the balance, the review called for more structure and greater transparency in GP pay warning that decentralised or local practices in pay setting can increase gender pay gaps.

More detailed analysis of GP salaries showed that the mean full-time equivalent corrected gender pay gap pay is greater among salaried GPs (22.3%) than contractor GPs (7.7%) and close to zero among GP registrars and locum GPs.

Figures show that women account for 73% of the lower-paid salaried GP and 43% of the higher-paid contractor GP group.

Overall the gender pay gap among doctors – defined as the difference in average pay rates for men and women, as a percentage of men’s earnings – is out of line with other professions and significantly wider than for other NHS staff, health secretary Matt Hancock said.

In a forward to the report he called on the NHS to set the standards for other businesses and ‘make sure the next generation of women doctors – and the wider NHS workforce – are treated as fairly and equitably as their male counterparts’.

Professor Dame Jane Dacre who chaired the report said the causes of the gender pay gap in medicine were complex and wide ranging and would require a system-wide effort to tackle.

‘The report sets out in full for the first time the causes of the pay gap, citing inflexible career and pay structures in medicine as creating barriers, especially for women with caring commitments, which leads to pay penalties for lower levels of experience and less favourable career paths.

‘The report also finds that although the pay gap has narrowed over time, progress is slow and women will continue to face disadvantages unless action is taken.’

Minister for Care Helen Whately said all too often women continue to face barriers that make it harder to succeed at work.

‘We will all lose out if talented women feel unable to continue working in healthcare – promising carers ended early and vital expertise and experience lost at a time when we need it more than ever.

‘I’m redoubling my efforts to work with the profession to remove the barriers stopping people from achieving their full potential. I want the NHS to be a truly diverse and inclusive employer.’


Simon Gilbert 18 December, 2020 2:01 pm

I wonder if this compares like with like? Salaried and partner jobs vary in actual intensity and real hours, and pay may reflect this. Many GP contracts use archaic terms like ‘sessions’ which perhaps are not comparable between different practices.
I’m not aware GPs in the same roles in any given practice are on different pro rata real pay rates.

David Jarvis 18 December, 2020 5:59 pm

The only thing driving partner differential was seniority pay that has nearly gone. Don’t believe in salaried GP’s but some Drs prefer this. It is a choice. Some drs work part time also a choice. Am I screwing the stats up by working full time and some OOH’s? No gender difference in pay rates at OOH service.
The last line about striving to break down barriers almost sounds like a gallop towards hysterectomies for female Drs. Or more likely a levelling down exercise for fairness.

Patrufini Duffy 18 December, 2020 9:14 pm

No comment as I’m gender neutral but positively aware. We all know the big elephant in the room, if this had an iotre of validity. But, Helen and Jane can’t address ‘it’. Also, a local GP surgery example with countless others. 20 GPs, 1 male, 19 women – but “women continue to face barriers that make it harder to succeed at work”. Blanket pointless words. Cqc wouldn’t question this surgery’s scenario ever, but roles reversed and the saga would be catastrophically anti-male and persecutory. Just adding some balance. To neutralise.

Dylan Summers 19 December, 2020 10:23 am

“mean full-time equivalent corrected gender pay gap pay is greater among salaried GPs (22.3%)”

This is really puzzling. I’ve worked as a salaried GP for almost 20 years at a number of practices. All of them have had a “pay scale” for all salaried GPs where the only thing affecting pay is the “number of years worked”. I have not seen separate male and female pay scales.

Unfortunately the linked report is 373 pages long so I don’t have the patience to dig down into the figures. Could this discrepancy be explained by time out of the workplace leading to a differential in “years worked”?

Dylan Summers 19 December, 2020 10:30 am


Another possible explanation is that male salaried GPs may be more likely to end up being employed by higher-paying practices. This could arise for 2 reasons:

1. Perhaps hiring practices are sexist

2. Perhaps male applicants for salaried GP positions give more weight to pay (over other features of the job) in choosing which jobs to apply for / accept.

It would clearly take some detailed work to disentangle those possibilities.

Dylan Summers 19 December, 2020 12:59 pm


Good point made in BMJ rapid responses:

the prevalence of new female medical graduates has been increasing for many years. This should have the statistical result that the average age of the female medical workforce should currently be lower than that of the male workforce.

Therefore if pay is only based on seniority, the trend of increasing new female graduates (at the bottom of the pay scale) will in itself lead to an average pay differential.

David Banner 21 December, 2020 1:37 pm

Biological necessity may play a part.
If there are 2 equally qualified recently married childless candidates (1 male/1 female) for a high-earning partnership, then who will be appointed? And who will end up in the neighbouring low-earning practice with no candidates?
It ain’t right, but it happens…….