Female GPs earn on average £40,000 a year less than their male colleagues and a broken ‘two-tier system’ is to blame, a think-tank has revealed.
The study of official NHS workforce data has revealed the gender pay gap for GPs now stands at 35%, making it the fifth largest pay gap of any profession in the UK as a percentage and just over double the average NHS pay gap of 17%.
The Institute for Public Policy Research analysis found that women of every age and on every type of GP contract earn less than their male counterpart, with male GPs earning an average £110,000 compared to £70,000 for the average female GP. It means female GPs earn 65p for every £1 earned by a male GP.
The think tank warns that the partnership model in general practice is creating a two-tier system: almost 80% of male GPs are partners, compared with fewer than 50% of female GPs.
With a partner GP earning about £109,000 a year and a salaried GP earning an average £58,000 a year, the IPPR says the unequal distribution of men and women in partner and salaried contracts is a clear driver of unequal pay. The research also ascertained that on average, women work an estimated 0.69 full time equivalent (FTE), compared to men, who work an average 0.89 FTE. Women GPs are also younger, with 35% under 40, compared to 22% of men.
Chris Thomas, IPPR health research fellow and lead author, said: “The GP pay gap is a shocking indictment of the inequality in medicine, and society more widely. As it stands, the general practice pay gap is the equivalent of a woman GP working for free between the August bank holiday weekend and Christmas. The onus is on government to use their majority to make sure general practice works, fairly, for all our hard-working medical professionals.”
Clare Gerada, senior GP, former chairperson of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) and member of the IPPR Better Health and Care Advisory Panel, added: “Equality is built into the DNA of the NHS: it’s free at the point of need for everyone when we need it most. It is therefore all the more concerning – though not a surprise to me – that gender inequality is this prevalent in general practice. We must do something about it.”
Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said gender equality must be reflected across the entire profession, including within management and leadership positions, such as practice partnerships, adding: “If such barriers are identified then they must be addressed.”
The IPPR analysis, Mind the GP, by Chris Thomas and Harry Quilter-Pinner, is available for download here