Independent review reveals extent of the gender pay gap in medicine

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The government has announced it will establish an implementation panel to help address the structural barriers outlined in the Mend the Gap: The Independent Review into Gender Pay report published on 15 December 2020.

The report outlines a range of recommendations to make senior roles more accessible to women and help close the gap. These include:

  • reducing pay points within pay scales, so it takes less time for people to reach the top, and encourage greater pay transparency in general practice
  • promoting flexible working, with jobs advertised as flexible unless there is a strong justification not to, helping to improve work–life balance and make the NHS the best place to work
  • restructuring part-time training to focus on competency rather than time served, reducing disproportionate long-term career penalties for women who are more likely to go part time.

These recommendations support measures set out in the NHS People Plan, to improve recruitment and retention, including ensuring equal opportunity and access to flexible working for both men and women.

Samantha Allen, chair of the Health and Care Women Leaders Network, delivered by the NHS Confederation, and chief executive of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“This report provides unequivocal evidence of a significant and substantial gender pay gap in medicine in the NHS. It makes for stark reading and further compounds the injustice women can still face in the workplace. Our own report, Action for equality: The time is now, further evidences what we need to do to enable more women to progress into senior roles across the NHS.”

Joan Saddler, director of partnerships and equality at the NHS Confederation said:

“We welcome the Government’s commitment to tackling pay gaps, as it’s high time these pay disparities were eliminated, particularly in light of the incredible work our NHS staff have done to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, led by a predominantly female workforce of varying ages and ethnicities. While these warm words provide some reassurance, we must now see the beginning of the real work to achieve pay equality for all, demonstrated by targeted actions to achieve it."

The Gender Pay Gap in Medicine Review was commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care in April 2018 to determine the extent of the gap, its causes, and what needs to be done to tackle it. The review was chaired by Professor Dame Jane Dacre and the research was undertaken by Professor Carol Woodhams, an expert in gender pay, alongside a team of analysts and researchers from the University of Surrey.

Further information
Read the NHS Confederation’s response and access the full report Mend the Gap: The Independent Review into Gender Pay Gaps in Medicine. Learn more about equal pay and gender pay in the NHS and also the work of the Health and Care Women Leaders Network.

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