NHS Scotland gender pay gap revealed

Female doctors earn an average of nearly £12,000 less than their male colleagues

Wednesday 10th July 2019

Women doctors in Scotland’s NHS are earning an average of just under £12,000 a year less than their male colleagues, gender pay gap statistics across all NHS staff are showing.

The percentage difference between men and women’s pay is most pronounced in administrative services, where the average salary for men is £36,600, compared to £25,600 for women – a 24% gap.

The difference between men and women in the ‘medical and dental’ category, which includes doctors and dentists, is reported to be 17% - men receiving an average salary of £68,152 in 2018/19, and women £56,484, a gap of £11,668. This compares to a wider gap of £12,531 in 2016/17.

BMA Scotland says there is “clearly some way to go” and is calling on the Scottish Government and NHS boards to work together to tackle the issue.

Published online, the figures show the gender pay gap has narrowed incrementally over the last three years but still remains high.

For the NHS as a whole, the gender pay gap was 19.6% – a minor improvement on last year’s figure of 20.1%. 

A male employee of NHS Scotland can expect a salary of £35,819, compared to £28,805 for women.

A breakdown of the figures by role reveals the disparities are most stark among administrative staff, doctors and dentists, and medical and dental support workers.

Although salary differentials in nursing, the Allied Health Professions, emergency services and healthcare scientists remained broadly consistent since 2016, the gender pay gap actually widened among personal and social care workers.

BMA Scotland’s chair, Dr Lewis Morrison, said: “To tackle the persisting gender pay gap in medicine we must ensure we retain women doctors in the profession for a full career. One with proper support, opportunity and encouragement to fully succeed in senior medical roles.

“The year on year increase in women choosing medicine as a career has yet to translate into equivalent numbers of consultants and senior doctors, particularly in some of the higher-paying specialties, and it is this that is reflected in the gender pay gap.

“There is clearly some way to go to achieve parity, and we need to look globally at career pathways, workplace culture, and reward and recognition to ensure that all doctors are able to achieve their full potential.

“Individuals must not be unfairly treated for taking time out to have a family, taking on other caring responsibilities, or working less than full time. The Scottish Government and health boards must work together to identify effective ways of accelerating change.”