Women in general practice ‘earning 15% less than men’

5th February 2021 by NASGP

Women in general practice ‘earning 15% less than men’

A new government report has found that doctors in salaried GP roles still face huge gender pay gaps.

In a new Pulse feature on the subject, Nicola Merrifield reports that payroll data for 16,000 GPs in England found pay gaps for both salaried GPs and GP partners. The salaried GP pay gap now stands at 22.3%. 

At £75,671, the average salary for women (across salaried and partner roles) is £40,000 lower the average for men. 

This gap comes despite the fact that women now drastically outnumber men in salaried roles, staffing a staggering 73% of the sector. Even taking into account men’s 57% majority in the partnership split, women still make up 54% of the GP profession as a whole. 

Notably, while there was variation in gender pay gaps across GP types authors found that the mean FTE-corrected pay gap was wider for salaried GPs (22.3%) than ‘contractor GPs’ (7.7%), and close to zero among GP registrars and GP locums. The mean gender pay gap for GP locums in terms of annual pay is 23.3%.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, writes: “This is a highly significant report that must make all of us involved with GP workforce stop in our tracks and take a fresh look at what is happening within our profession. 

“This report offers a stark insight into a significant gender pay gap, it’s all the more relevant in general practice since 66% of our newly qualified GPs are female. 

“As an organisation we have long been aware of bias amongst GPs who work as locums. A significant amount of work and investment has taken place over the last five years for us to build our online IT system, LocumDeck, that provides a level playing field for GP locum. It helps GP locums set their own rates, and their own terms and conditions, whilst still giving practices powerful features to book them, and helps circumvent this type of bias.” 

The report makes 47 recommendations for closing the gap, including:

  • Reviewing pay-setting arrangements: More structure and greater transparency is recommended in GP pay setting. Decentralised or local practices in pay setting can increase gender pay gaps.
  • Giving greater attention to the distribution of additional work and extra payments: Increase transparency around additional allowances and individually negotiated pay (for example, for locums or waiting list initiatives). An expanded workforce would reduce dependence on these gender-segregated pay elements.
  • Monitor the gender split of applications for CEAs; change the criteria to recognise excellent work in a broader range of specialties; and encourage more applications from women.
  • Promote flexible working for both men and women: Advertise all jobs as available for LTFT.
  • Reconsider the structure of LTFT training, so that it focuses on competency not time served, reducing long-term career penalties.

"I think the Spip and Cudos tool both have a very positive future and fulfil a real need."

Dr Amy Kerstein

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