Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Data Briefing

The gender pay gap in the NHS

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 09 April 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k1541
  1. John Appleby, director of research and chief economist
  1. Nuffield Trust, London, UK
  1. john.appleby{at}

The new requirement for large employers to publish basic data shows the scale of the discrepancy in the NHS—but less about why and what should be done, says John Appleby

At the time of writing (3 April), 9406 businesses with more than 250 employees across the UK had reported details of the gender pay gap in their organisations as at March 2017,1 as part of the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) regulations published last year.2 This addition to the 2010 act stipulates some basic pay data: essentially, the percentage difference between men’s and women’s average hourly mean or median basic pay, the same for bonus pay, and the proportions of men and women between the quartiles of an organisation’s pay range.

With over 1.6 million staff, the NHS is the largest single employer in the UK, three times the size of the largest private sector employer, Tesco. Most NHS organisations …

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