NHS doctors and consultants from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are paid almost five per cent less than their white counterparts, an eye-opening new study has revealed.
New research published in the British Medical Journal has shed light on an ‘ethnicity pay gap’ across several pay grades.
The study, which was spearheaded by Professor John Appleby, Chief Economist of the Nuffield Trust, found that on average, BAME consultants are paid 4.9 per cent less than their white colleagues.
Over the course of a year, this equates to 4,644, the study noted.
It found that there was very little in terms of a pay gap across most doctors’ grades, particularly those at the lower end of the scale.
However, among consultants and higher-end doctors, the average basic pay for those from a white background was ‘significantly’ higher than their BAME counterparts.
Specifically, black consultants tend to be paid 3.5 per cent less, while mixed or dual-heritage consultants are earning six per cent less, the research reveals.
The findings come at a difficult time for the NHS, just weeks after the Government opened a review into the gender pay gap between male and female doctors, which is estimated to sit at around 15 per cent.
In his report, Professor Appleby pointed out that the NHS is currently one of the largest employers in the world, with approximately 1.2 million employees, around 20 per cent of whom are from BAME backgrounds.
However, he suggested that without pieces of research such as this one, issues such as the ethnicity pay gap were likely to be missed, due to the fact that only gender pay differences are reported by organisations under existing rules.
Samantha Randall, an employment law expert with Palmers, said: “The latest controversy shows that even some of Britain’s biggest employers can find themselves embroiled in damaging rows about their employment practices.
“The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against employees and workers because of their age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity. These are known as `protected characteristics´ and there are hefty penalties for employers who ignore these rules.”
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