Little Change in UK Doctors' Earnings: Medscape Survey

Tim Locke

June 05, 2019

Medscape's latest UK Doctors' Salary and Satisfaction report suggests only small rises in income over the past 2 years, and a significant gender pay gap. 

Based on online survey responses from 1022 fulltime practising doctors, GPs' average full-time earnings for last year were nearly flat while specialists suffered an average £1000 a year pay cut.

GP's median earnings dropped by £10,000 to £90,000 while specialists' median pay rose by £5000 to £100,000.

Sixty-seven percent of GPs and 59% of specialists said they weren't paid enough.

Pay Gaps

The gender pay gap for GPs in 2018 was 26% in favour of male doctors – a slight improvement on 29% in 2016.

Female specialists took home 38% less than men – a big improvement on the 56% gap in 2016.

Despite this, women doctors were only slightly less likely (38%) than men (41%) to be content with their wages.

Our data also show an ethnicity pay gap. Asian/Asian British GPs and specialists overall earned around £21,000 a year less than their white counterparts.

Consultation Time

The Royal College of GPs has called for standard 15 minute appointments to replace the current 10 minute slots. Our survey found 9-12 minutes was the average consultation time for 71% of GPs.

Male doctors were more likely to do 9-12 minute consultations, and more female doctors did 13-16 minute sessions.

Seeing patients accounted for 33 hours of the working week for male GPs, 30 hours for women GPs. Paperwork and admin took up around 15 hours a week for nearly half (48%) of doctors.

Job Challenges

Seventy percent of those responding to our survey work solely in the NHS and NHS-related challenges headed our list of work-related problems.

Eighty-one percent said working in the NHS had become harder.

Workload and staffing levels were cited as doctors' top challenges (50%), followed by NHS rules and regulations (20%).

These dominated over other practice issues like difficult patients (9%) and long working hours (8%).

Staffing and workload issues were more of a concern for specialists (51%) than GPs (40%).

Overall these concerns were 3% higher than our 2016 data.

Personal comments given included:

  • "Staggering staffing shortages, working long hours and burnout. Physical and mental stresses."

  • "Emotional exhaustion."

  • "Dealing with difficult colleagues."

  • "Bullying/undermining at work, worries about career progression and training."

  • "Poor management, dysfunctional department."

  • "Dealing with incompetent managers and idiotic government regulations."

Many have just had enough, with 31% saying they were thinking of moving to practise abroad. However, Brexit uncertainty was not as big a driver as you might think. Leaving the EU may change plans for 9% of overseas doctors working in the UK. That compared with 30% in 2016.

Twenty eight percent of doctors said they were considering doing more private work.

Positive Aspects of Being a Doctor

Being a doctor can still be rewarding, our survey found. For 36% the most rewarding aspect was being good at what they do, finding answers and diagnoses. Gratitude of patients was next at 22%, then at 21% "knowing that I'm making the world a better place".

Nearly two thirds (61%) would chose medicine as a career again.

Younger doctors, women, and GPs were less likely to pick the same career. Most doctors (77%) would select the same specialty or practice setting.

Comments

3090D553-9492-4563-8681-AD288FA52ACE
Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.
Post as:

processing....