Senior white NHS doctors earn significantly more than senior doctors from all other ethnic groups, research has revealed.
A study by healthcare think tank the Nuffield Trust found that white consultants earn an extra 6% (£4,644) a year compared to their BME counterparts.
The Royal College of Physicians – a doctor’s representative body – president Jane Dacre was commissioned by former health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt in May to lead a pay gap review between male and female doctors.
Pay gap linked to ethnicity
Using data from the NHS Electronic Staff Record for December 2017, a study by Nuffield Trust director of research and chief economist John Appleby found that the median basic pay for white consultants is higher than for all other ethnic groups. For example, those are paid 3.5% more than black and black British consultants and 6% more than mixed or dual-heritage consultants.
The study said: ‘Although the lack of a significant pay gap for most doctor grades is encouraging, a larger gap exists among consultants: the mean basic pay for white consultants is 4.9% higher than for BME consultants.
‘This is equivalent to additional basic pay in December 2017 of £387 or, scaled up, around £4,644 a year for white consultants.’
According to NHS Digital, the proportion of NHS staff from minority ethnic groups is higher than the rest of the population, with 20% as of December 2017 compared to 15% based on 2011 data.
Mr Appleby also found that the number of foundation year 1 BME doctors – GPs excluded – ranges from 37% to 60% for specialty doctors.
Responding to the report, the BMA’s council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said that BME doctors continue to face ‘unacceptable barriers, penalties and discrimination’ in the NHS.
He added: ‘It cannot be right that in 21st century Britain there are such wide gaps in pay between white and BME doctors in senior posts when, irrespective of their background, they hold positions to deliver the same care to patients.’
According to NHS England’s workforce race equality standard document, 18% of all NHS workers are from a BME background, of which only 7% are very senior managers.