Intended for healthcare professionals


Review of £10 000 gender pay gap in medicine is launched

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 29 May 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2366
  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. The BMJ

The government has launched an independent review of the gender pay gap in medicine, to be led by Jane Dacre, president of the Royal College of Physicians.

The launch comes after health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt announced in 2016 that the government would commission an independent review on how the gender pay gap could be eliminated in medicine.1

On announcing the review on 28 May, the department of health and social care said that male doctors were paid an average of £67 788 in basic pay, compared with £57 569 for female doctors—a gap of over £10 000 (€11 400; $13 300). Last year The BMJ reported that, in 2016, female doctors working full time earned 34% less a year than their male counterparts.2

The review will consider the causes of the gender pay gap, as well as any barriers to career progression that female doctors face, including: working patterns and their effect on those in the medical profession; effect of motherhood on careers and progression; care arrangements, their affordability, and issues around being a carer; access to flexible working; shared parental leave—to identify factors that are resulting in a slow uptake; the predominance of men in senior roles; the effect of Clinical Excellence Awards; and geographical issues.

Announcing the review, Hunt said that it was unacceptable that NHS staff still faced gender inequality, 70 years after it was founded. “Even today, there remains a 15% gap between the pay of our male and female doctors—this has no place in a modern employer or in the NHS, and I’m determined to eliminate this gap.”

Dacre said that she was delighted to have been appointed to lead the review and that there was no shortage of evidence on what causes the gender pay gap. “I am grateful for the government’s commitment to act on the recommendations of the review, not just for women doctors now, but for our future workforce,” she said. “Over 50% of medical school entrants are women, and we owe it to them and their future commitment to the NHS to ensure they are treated fairly.”

Henrietta Bowden-Jones, president of the Medical Women’s Federation, welcomed the announcement. “The aims of the review are to identify the causes of this gender pay gap taking a whole career approach and, from that evidence, to develop a series of relevant and implementable recommendations. We look forward to contributing to this important national work,” she said.

Anthea Mowat, chair of the BMA representative body, said that the association had played a key role in establishing the gender pay gap review. She said that the BMA hoped it would “lead to policy changes that will benefit women doctors at all stages of their careers.”

Follow the discussion on social media using #medpaygap