Gender pay gap widens as female doctors earn less amid COVID-19 pandemic



New Medscape report found pay inequality widened in 2020, with female doctors paying 30% less than their male counterparts

The survey also found that over 60% of doctors felt under-rewarded and 40% would not choose medicine as a career if they could start over.

LONDON, April 21, 2021 / PRNewswire / – As the UK begins to see progress against the COVID-19 pandemic, the unprecedented impact and pressure on NHS staff and doctors is being fully assessed. A new report from Medscape finds that the overall average earnings of British doctors have fallen since the last report, and that female doctors have been disproportionately affected with a larger pay cut than their male counterparts. More than 60% of doctors feel under-rewarded in terms of salary, according to the survey.

Medscape UK 2021 Physician Salary and Satisfaction Survey presents the responses of more than 1000 physicians in England, Scotland, Wales and North Ireland. Doctors of all specialties were included in the survey, the majority working in the NHS (73%), almost a quarter (23%) working both in the NHS and the private sector and 4% in the sector private only. The report examines the evolution of average physician salaries since Medscape’s last Salary and Satisfaction Survey released in 2019.

Overall, 29% of UK doctors said their incomes had declined, up from 17% in 2018. When doctors were asked about the reasons for their declining incomes, the COVID-19 pandemic was mentioned to many times. Others cited different reasons, with one respondent saying: ‘Rising cost of living and frankly poor treatment of the entire medical profession by the government ‘.

The gender pay gap widens for doctors
The survey, conducted between November 10, 2020 at February 16, 2021suggests that the gender pay gap has widened during the pandemic, with women experiencing a greater reduction in their earnings. Female doctors reported a 10% reduction in their earnings on average, which was double that reported by male doctors, and led to an increase in the gender pay gap of £ 32,000 in 2018 at £ 35,000 currently.

The average pay gap between GPs and specialists has also widened, with GPs reporting an average drop of £ 12,000 to £ 92,000 compared to specialists reporting an average drop of £ 9,000 at £ 105,000. This increase in the pay gap is reflected in the way in which everyone is rewarded for their work, as 66% of general practitioners feel under-rewarded while this figure is 61% for specialists. However, 34% of doctors reported an increase in their income with career progression and improvement in private practice due to NHS closures among the common reasons cited.

Undervalued and underrewarded
The increase in the gender pay gap likely affected satisfaction with pay for the respective genders, as more female physicians (67%) felt underrewarded for their work than male physicians. (59%). When asked if they were happy to be a doctor, one in five said no, and twice as many (40%) said they would not choose medicine as a career if they had to start over. . ‘Stop clapping, pay us’ was a common theme among respondents, with a large proportion of doctors (83%) saying working in the NHS has become more difficult since the pandemic.

Across generations, salary dissatisfaction was higher among millennials (74%) than millennials (63%) and baby boomers (50%). When asked what the biggest frustration with working in the NHS is, responses included:

  • Applause is considered a fair payment for working in a pandemic ”
  • ‘Intimidation’
  • Brainless and brainless managers
  • ‘Burnout’

For more results, see the full Medscape report:

Methodology of the report

Physicians who are members of Medscape and Univadis were invited to participate in an online salary and satisfaction survey. Respondents had to be practicing British doctors. 1025 doctors met the criteria and responded to the survey. Data collection period – November 10, 2020February 16, 2021. The survey’s margin of error was a 95% confidence level using a 50% point estimate.

About Medscape

Medscape is the premier source for clinical news, health information, and point-of-care tools for healthcare professionals. Medscape provides the most robust and integrated medical information and educational tools for specialists, primary care physicians and other healthcare professionals. Medscape Education ( is the premier destination for continuing professional development, comprised of over 30 specialty destinations offering thousands of free CME and CE courses and other educational programs for physicians, nurses and other professionals of health. Medscape is a subsidiary of WebMD Health Corp.

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SOURCE Medscape


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