Doctors have welcomed the appointment of a senior female colleague to lead a review into the gender pay gap in medicine and the NHS.
Royal College of Physicians president Jane Dacre was today named by health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt as the head of the review which will seek to narrow the substantial pay gap in the medical profession.
BMA representative body chair Anthea Mowat said the BMA had played a key role in establishing the review.
‘We hope that it will scrutinise these ongoing barriers and lead to policy changes that will benefit women doctors at all stages of their careers,’ she added.
‘There has been a lot of progress for female doctors in the 70 years since the NHS was founded – women now make up almost half of the medical profession, and the majority of students and trainees are female.
‘However, they are still underrepresented in the top jobs and women still face all kinds of barriers during their careers.’
Mr Hunt said it was ‘unacceptable’ that staff faced gender inequality 70 years on from the creation of the NHS.
This pay gap ‘has no place in a modern employer or the NHS and I’m determined to eliminate this gap’, he added.
While more than half of those entering the medical workforce are male, there are more male doctors than female doctors at the higher end of the career ladder, according to official figures. Only 36 per cent of consultants are women.
The review will examine the drivers behind the gap and pinpoint obstacles that prevent female doctors progressing her NHS career like their male counterparts. It will examine:
- Working patterns and their impact on doctors
- Impact of having children on careers and progression
- Care arrangements, their affordability, and other issues around being a carer
- Access to flexible working
- Shared parental leave
- The predominance of men in senior roles
- The impact of clinical excellence awards.
Ms Dacre said there was no shortage of evidence about the ‘unacceptable’ gender pay gap in the medical workforce.
‘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 added.