A piece in today’s Times by Kat Lay, Health Correspondent. NHS remuneration should be set along Wimbledon lines – equal pay for lesser effort and achievement. Emphases ours.
A health minister has dubbed the NHS the “National He Service” as the government begins a review into the gender pay gap in medicine.
Caroline Dinenage, the care minister, said that the health service “needs to do much more to level the playing field for its senior staff”. [J4MB: In what ways is the playing field not already level?]
Today the government will announce a review by Professor Jane Dacre, president of the Royal College of Physicians, into what drives the gap and potential solutions.
“It is hard to avoid a lingering suspicion that the NHS, in some cases, still stands for the National He Service,” Ms Dinenage said in an online article for The Times.
“This is a profoundly important issue, not just in terms of fairness and equality but also in terms of how we create the strongest and safest healthcare system we can.
“And to do that, we need to make sure NHS organisations are inclusive and able to extract the talent of their workforce. My view is that gender pay equality is a litmus test for that — and on that measure all the evidence suggests that the NHS needs to do much better.”
Male doctors receive basic pay of £67,788 compared with £57,569 for female doctors, and male consultants are four times more likely to be paid a bonus than their female counterparts.
A century on from women first getting the vote, Ms Dinenage said that the most appropriate tribute to the work of suffragists would be parity between the sexes “in our pay cheques”. The NHS has a gap of 23 per cent, despite women outnumbering men in its workforce.
The gap is driven because highly paid male doctors make up a bigger proportion of the male cohort than well-paid female doctors do of the female cohort.
Launching the review, Jeremy Hunt, health and social care secretary, is expected to say: “The NHS holds a unique position in both British and global society as a shining beacon of equality among all, and so it is unacceptable that 70 years from its creation its own staff still face gender inequality.”
He will also say that he is determined to eliminate the gap for doctors.
More women enter the medical workforce than men. At present there are 3,418 female doctors in their first year of training after medical school, compared with 2,745 men. However, at the top of the career ladder there are more men than women, with 31,290 male consultants compared with 17,317 female consultants.
The review will consider what might stop a female doctor progressing in the same way as her male colleagues, including working patterns, the impact of motherhood or caring responsibilities, and geographical factors.
It will also look at clinical excellence awards, given to consultants for improving safety and quality of care or learning practices. The awards are given to four times as many men as women.
Professor Dacre said: “Previous reports and initiatives have identified many of the root causes, so there is no shortage of evidence about this unacceptable situation.
“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. Over 50 per cent 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.”
The review is expected to conclude by the end of this year.
None of these absurd “reviews” ever conclude that a gender pay gap is the predictable outcome of more men than women having a strong work ethic, working longer hours, actively seeking out the tougher, better-paid jobs with responsibility for managing staff…
You can subscribe to The Times here.