Medical academics' pay scales

This guidance covers what medical or clinical academics should be paid, including protections for those trainees transferring to the 2016 pay scale and what pay premia and additional awards academics are entitled to.

Location: UK
Audience: Medical academics Junior doctors
Updated: Friday 28 June 2024
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Medical academics are doctors employed by universities and other research organisations.


Pay circulars


NHS Employers have published guidance to address the careers earning impact of Covid-19 on doctors in training in England. The guidance has been produced in association with the BMA and translates guidance agreed between NHS Employers and the BMA in the NHS.

Read guidance to address career earnings impact for ARCP outcome 10.2 recipients | NHS Employers



Northern Ireland

Structure and contractual arrangements (agreed 2018)

Training flexible pay premia (England)

In England, the 2016 junior doctor contract introduced a new range of flexible pay premia (FPPs) which are intended to encourage recruitment in certain specialties. The premia are only payable to those who are on the new pay scale.

  • These payments are taxable, non-pensionable and made annually until you complete your clinical training.
  • An individual can receive more than one FPP at a time, wherever they meet the criteria, though not the same premium twice.
  • These FPP are paid pro-rata for less than full time (LTFT) trainees.
  • UCEA have also recommended that university employers match the FPP being offered to junior doctors in the NHS, including the specific academic pay premium.
  • If you take maternity or other family leave whilst receiving FPP, maternity pay will be calculated including the pay premium.
  • The list of premia and an outline of the eligibility criteria are in the circular at the top of this page.


Other pay premia

Academic pay premium

The academic pay premium is £4,288 per annum. It’s paid to those who have successfully completed an approved higher degree and returned to clinical training.

General practice pay premium

The premium is £8,789 per annum and is only payable while you are working in a general practice placement.

Exceptional flexible pay premia

The details surrounding the application of and eligibility for this criteria have not yet been determined. These premia are likely to be in response to exceptional events, such as specific public health crises that may arise in the future.

The BMA is currently in discussions about the extent to which this premia could apply to the COVID-19 crisis and its value.

As such, we felt it was vital for this premium for academia and research to be included in the pay circular. It should be available to academic trainees including when they undertake such activities as university employees.


Senior clinical lecturer / reader scale

UCEA will retain and update (in line with recommendations made by the DDRB) the existing senior clinical lecturer/reader scale. This is to give employers the flexibility to retain progression for junior doctors and dentists beyond the clinical lecturer scale.

It is for when employers feel it is necessary to compensate an individual for the elongated training pathway, beyond simply paying them the academic premium. They have suggested that this is likely to be based on some element beyond length of service.

It is an opportunity that you should be aware of and to seek with your employer if appropriate.


Voluntary pay reductions and other pay changes

BMA has become aware that a number of universities are asking for voluntary pay reductions or other changes to clinical academics’ contracts to cope with budget constraints due to COVID.

MASC (Medical academics staff committee) has agreed the following advice for members:

  • pay parity with the NHS is a crucial principle in the pay arrangements for clinical academics, so  don’t agree to anything that breaks that link
  • if you are being paid more than 10 PAs as a consultant, there are ways of reducing your pay and your PAs to 10 through a job planning process. This must be done by agreement and it must also reduce your workload. You should be aware that the university will attempt to use your administration time to support research and teaching, and the NHS your SPA time
  • alternatively, if your honorary NHS employer are in agreement, you could rebalance your workload to take on more clinical work, thus reducing the cost for the university employer. This should be done through a job-planning review also. As above, there are risks of losing administrative time and of more work being done in your own time.

If you have been affected by similar issues, there are few things you can do:

  • get in touch with us to discuss your case. If required, an employment adviser will review your job plan review
  • organise a meeting of the clinical academic staff affected
  • help the BMA industrial relations officer make contact with the organisers of other trades unions to share intelligence and develop together alternative proposals for saving money
  • make sure universities don’t forget the income that they generate from education and teaching, and the benefit they gain from being able to provide a high quality teaching experience.


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