HCSA calls for action on ‘glass ceiling’ for ethnic minority and women doctors, in light of striking new data

HCSA has called for urgent action on ethnicity and gender pay gaps in medicine, as data lays bare the severe disadvantages faced by ethnic minority and women surgeons in the NHS.

New research compiled by academics from the University of Surrey showed black women who were junior surgeons in 2010 were 42 per cent less likely to be promoted to Consultant than white men by 2020. Black men were 27 percentage points behind white men, whilst women of Indian and Pakistani heritage were 28 per cent behind.  

Equally striking is that the data indicated the profession was growing ever more male dominated, with the proportion of male consultants increasing by 6 per cent over 10 years. 

HCSA – the hospital doctors’ union President-elect Dr Naru Narayanan said: “These findings should serve as a wake-up call on the barriers which too many hospital doctors face because of the colour of their skin or gender.

“We need urgent action to target the factors which have left some specialities, most strikingly surgery, a white male-dominated arena. At the same time non-white doctors are more likely to be placed under investigation or experience bullying at work.

“We desperately need a forensic probe into the ethnicity pay gap along the lines of the gender pay gap review which produced an excellent set of recommendations. Failure to do so sends a message that inequity based on race is less important. It's time for the lip service to end. How much more evidence does the government and our NHS need to act?”