HCSA has called on the NHS and government to “roll up their sleeves” and get the job done as it welcomed the publication of the long-awaited Gender Pay Gap in Medicine report in which the union played an active role.
The "Mend the Gap" report confirmed the existence of a sizeable pay difference between men and women doctors which exists even after taking into account age, a factor which widens the headline gap further due to the historical trend of medicine as a male profession.
The structure of medical training and assessment and an outdated approach to less-than-full-time staff were singled out as key drivers behind salary differences.
Having children means that while women hospital doctors begin as equals as trainees, time taken out subsequently means they can wait up to 35 years - until age 65 - to regain parity with their male colleagues, it found.
HCSA was one of the key stakeholders group supporting the process.
Key recommendations of the review included:
- A root and branch review of career and pay structures
- Vacancies should include less-than-full-time and job share options
- A reduction in the number of pay spine points and medical pay scales
- The standardisation of additional pay and contracts for doctors taking senior roles
- A shift in the focus of training assessment to competence rather than time served in order to aid those taking time out to have children
Welcoming the publication of the review finally after a year-long wait, HCSA applauded Secretary of State Matt Hancock’s acknowledgement of the structural issues which prevented women doctors from keeping up with men’s pay.
However, HCSA President Dr Claudia Paoloni urged policy-makers to act so that its excellent recommendations are implemented.
She said: “Delivering the necessary changes it identifies will mean a huge commitment by all parts of the NHS.
“The service needs to catch up with the reality that the profession is going to be female-dominated in future and the culture and policies governing hospital doctors need to be dragged into the 21st century.
“Less than full time working is going to be increasingly common not just for women but as people expect a better work-life balance. We need to be embrace the new reality now and ensure we are ready for it.
“HCSA was proud to play a central part in the process as a key stakeholder, but we have waited over a year for the publication of this review, which was originally scheduled for September 2019. This sends a message that the gender pay gap is not seen as the priority it must be.
“The Secretary of State’s commitment to taking forward the recommendations is to be congratulated, but now the NHS and government must roll up their sleeves and start tackling this unacceptable inequity."