White consultants employed by NHS England earn about £4,644 per year more than their black and minority ethnic (BME) peers, according to data published by the BMJ.
The basic pay data for doctors in England directly employed by the NHS, extracted from the NHS Electronic Staff Record for December 2017, show differences in median basic pay between white and BME doctors.
For nearly all grades and types of doctors, the gap in median basic pay was small, ranging from close to zero for foundation year 2 doctors to almost 5 per cent for consultants. Median basic pay for white consultant was higher than for all other ethnic groups, varying from around 3.5 per cent higher than black/black British consultants to over 6 per cent higher than mixed or dual heritage consultants.
Commenting on the data, John Appleby, Chief Economist at the Nuffield Trust said the lack of a significant pay gap for most doctor grades is encouraging but added that the differences at consultant level warrant further investigation and explanation.
“It is one thing to identify pay gaps between staff, another to explain them,” Appleby said. As with the gender pay gap, he said “the ethnic pay gap among consultants” is likely to be driven by several factors”.
Part of the explanation may be differences in the age profile of white and BME consultants. “If age is taken as a proxy for experience and experience is positively linked to remuneration, then we would expect to see some difference in pay,” he explained.