Review of the gender pay gap in medicine

DHSC commissioned an independent review of the gap between men’s and women’s earnings in medicine. It aims to pinpoint the causes of the gender pay gap, and how they can be addressed.

Location: England
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Monday 7 September 2020
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There is a gender pay gap of 17% for hospital doctors in England. Among the contributing factors are women being less likely to work as consultants and more likely to work in lower-paid specialties.

These are the initial findings of the independent review of the gender pay gap in the medical profession, chaired by Professor Dame Jane Dacre.

The review will establish a strong evidence base on the causes of the pay gap in the profession, and give recommendations to address them.


What is the gender pay gap?

A 17% gender pay gap means that the average hourly earnings of all female employees is 17% less than the average hourly earnings of all male employees.

The gender pay gap is not the same as equal pay. Equal pay is about ensuring men and women doing similar work – or work that is different but of equal value, in terms of skills, responsibility and effort – are paid the same.

A gender pay gap could partly reflect a failure to provide equal pay. It usually reflects a range of factors like a concentration of women in lower-paid roles and women being less likely to reach senior management levels.


Why do we need this review?

Government regulations require all large public and private sector organisations to publish their gender pay gap data

A programme of action to improve women’s opportunities in medicine was recommended by the 2009 Deech report. However, several years later, many of the recommendations had not been acted upon and there was still a considerable pay gap. During the junior doctor contract dispute in 2016, the health secretary announced a new review.

Scope of the review

The review covers NHS secondary care and primary care doctors and is also gathering some data for public health doctors and medical academics in England.

Issues the review will look at include:

  • the affect of parenthood on careers
  • access to flexible working, shared parental leave and LTFT (less than full-time) training
  • specialty choices and barriers
  • the predominance of men in senior roles
  • the culture within medicine
  • the affect of Clinical Excellence Awards and other elements of variable pay.

The review is overseen by a steering group and chaired by Professor Dame Jane Dacre, former president of the Royal College of Physicians. Representatives on the steering group include the BMA, the Medical Women’s Federation, DHSC and NHS Employers.

The review's initial findings were published in April 2019.

The final report and recommendations are expected in autumn 2019. They will feed into policy reforms, DDRB recommendations and contract negotiations.


How the BMA is involved

The BMA was influential in the setting up of the review. It has:

  • four representatives on the steering group overseeing the review, including the chair of the representative body
  • staff from our UK offices as observers on the steering group as lessons can be shared across the UK
  • established an internal advisory group of doctors to help shape our input into the review including reps from all our committees

The 2018-19 junior doctor contract negotiations

The BMA's negotiations with NHS Employers and the DHSC to review the 2016 junior doctor contract included concerns about gender equality. The improved contract came into effect in August 2019, with several changes related to equality and flexible training.