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Alleged ethnic pay gap within the NHS

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NHS staffing shortages causing concern

The recent findings of a study published on 5th September 2018 by the British Medical Journal, titled ‘Ethnic pay gap among NHS doctors’, are evidence that black and minority ethnic (BME) consultants, employed by the NHS, are paid an average of 4.9% less than white consultants. It is understood that this equates to approximately £4,600 per year.

When broken down further, the study evidenced that  the ‘median basic pay’ of white consultants are approximately 3.5% higher than earnings of black consultants, and are in excess of 6% higher than the earnings of mixed or dual-heritage consultants.

Further to this, the outcome of a staff survey conducted by the NHS has evidenced that BME doctors feel that they are at greater risk of harassment and bullying, compared to their white colleagues. 

It has been reported, by the BBC and the Guardian, that a representative for the British Medical Association has commented on the findings, stating that the study ‘confirms that BME doctors continue to face unacceptable barriers, penalties and discrimination in the NHS’.

It is also reported that a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care has commented, confirming that it had commissioned its own data on ethnicity pay to identify the gaps, and will soon announce ‘robust plans’ to tackle these challenges.

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee on the grounds of their race. Race discrimination occurs when an individual is treated less favourably on the grounds of their race, nationality, ethnic origin, heritage or colour.

The protection afforded by the Equality Act applies to every stage of the employment relationship; from recruitment through to dismissal.

If you feel that as a result of your race you have suffered a detriment either in the workplace or whilst looking for work you may be able to bring a claim for discrimination. Please contact our specialist discrimination team for further advice on 01616 966 229.

By Charlotte Brain, graduate paralegal in the discrimination team