GP gender pay gap is double the average across medicine

The gender pay gap in general practice is 33% - twice as high as the average across the medical profession, according to an independent review of pay in the NHS.

(Photo: Adam Gault/Getty Images)
(Photo: Adam Gault/Getty Images)

An interim update from The Gender Pay Gap in Medicine Review has revealed that women GPs are on average earning a third less than their male counterparts. The gender pay gap for all doctors in the NHS is 17%.

Women GPs earn on average £75,600, while the average salary among male GPs is £113,600, the review found. The figures are based on the self-assessment tax records for 2016/17 of 16,000 GPs and refer to NHS income only.

The findings mean that across the NHS male doctors are earning £1.17 for every £1 earned by female doctors, while in general practice male GPs are earning £1.33 for every £1 earned by female GPs.

The DHSC, which commissioned the review, said that the final report would look into the reason for the pay disparity. However, it said early indications suggested that factors such as female GPs being more likely to work part time and less likely to become partners were contributing to the pay gap in general practice.

Gender pay gap

The review, which is being led by former president of the Royal College of Physicians Professor Dame Jane Dacre, shows that the dominance of men in senior medical positions is a major factor in the gender pay gap across the NHS as a whole.

Two-thirds of doctors in training grades are women, but within consultant grades this drops to under half. Data also shows that two in three consultants are men – there are nearly 32,000 male consultants compared with just 18,000 female.

Women are also over-represented in lower paid specialties, for example public health and occupational health, but under-represented in the highest paying specialties, such as urology and surgery.

The BMA said it was vital that women doctors were provided with proper support, opportunities and encouragement to enable them to reach their full potential and progress into senior roles.

Dr Helena McKeown, acting chair of the BMA representative body, said: 'It is fantastic to see more women choosing medicine as a career but the lack of representation among consultants, GP partners and in some of the higher-paying specialties, which is reflected in the gender pay gap, shows there is some way to go before parity is achieved.

'We need to look at career pathways, reward and recognition structures and workplace culture to make sure that women doctors are able to achieve their potential in the profession and individuals are not unfairly penalised for taking time out when they have children, take on other caring responsibilities or work less than full time.'

Reducing inequality

The DHSC said that the Gender Pay Gap in Medicine Review was the largest examination of gender pay data ever conducted in the public sector. Along with looking at the reasons for the pay gap, the final report, which is due in September, will make recommendations on how the NHS can reduce it.

Dame Jane 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.’

Health minister, Stephen Hammond said: ‘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 research underpinning the review has involved in-depth analysis of anonymised pay data, interviews with medics at various stages of their career and an online survey of 40,000 doctors.

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