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Updated: Royal Surrey Gender Pay Gap Report Reveals ‘Significant Issues’

Published on: 5 Apr, 2022
Updated on: 7 Apr, 2022

By Emily Coady-Stemp

local democracy reporter

Male medical staff are paid £5 per hour more on average at the Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust. More than three-quarters of its employees are female.

The figures were revealed as part of the trust’s reporting on its gender pay gap, which looks at the difference in the average pay of men and women employed.

A board meeting of the NHS trust, which runs the Royal Surrey County Hospital, on Thursday (March 31), heard that the largest pay gap in the organisation was among medical and dental staff.

See Louise Hall’s added response below.

According to a board report, male consultants tend to have a longer average length of service than women and because the pay is based on incremental progression, men earn more based on their years of service.

The medical and dental staff category had one of the most even splits of male to female workers, just over half are women and 48 per cent men, but the largest pay gap, with men being paid £5.21 more per hour, at £37.54 compared to £32.33 for women.

Another factor highlighted in the report was the gender split among consultants was different from overall medical staff, with 37 per cent women.

The trust’s overall mean percentage pay gap had dropped five percentage points over the last 12 months from 28.5 per cent to 23.1 per cent. The difference between the average hourly rate between male and female employees has decreased from £7.57 in March 2020 to £5.90 in March 2021.

The “Royal Surrey” hospital forms the major part of the Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust

The figures are published a year in arrears, with the numbers referring to pay as of March 31, 2021.

More than three quarters (77 per cent) of staff at the hospital are female.

For administrative and clerical staff – made up of 79.6 per cent women – men are paid £3.62 more per hour, but one area where women were paid more per hour was in nursing and midwifery (registered) where 88.5 per cent of staff are women and their average pay per hour is £20.09, with men paid on average £1.14 less per hour at £18.95.

The report also highlighted the impact of Clinical Excellence Awards as a significant factor in the difference in pay between male and female employees.

These awards are paid to consultants “who contribute most to the delivery of safe and high-quality care and the improvement of NHS services” according to the British Medical Association.

But during the pandemic, money was allocated locally to all eligible consultants, with no competitive process required. The hospital’s report stated the impact of these changes had resulted in the decrease in its overall gender pay gap for 2021.

Meeting chair Sue Sjuve said figures in the report show there were “significant issues” which were not just linked to the Clinical Excellence Awards.

She said comparisons should be made with similar trusts and that the board needed to ask itself if it was happy with the rate of progress of a five percentage point drop in the gap from the previous year.

She asked: “Should we be saying we must speed up this rate of change or should we accept that it’s going to take a long time?”

Louise Hall, director of human resources at the trust, confirmed that there would be a recommendation to look at the impact of diversity on pay for next year.

According to the report, from next year plans to build a “sustainable and representative workforce” will include working with local communities to give access and opportunity to vacancies.

The trust has already introduced a diversity inclusion checklist to its recruitment process to encourage diverse recruitment panels and help challenge any unconscious bias.

Director’s response

Louise Hall, director of Human Resources at the trust said later (April 6): “We have made significant progress in reducing our gender pay gap by 5.47 percentage points in the last year but the pay gap is largely caused by the fact there are currently fewer female consultants than males working in the NHS, so it will take time to address this historical imbalance.

“We have extended our pay commitment to the entire workforce and are looking at all differentials between pay including race and disability to gain a full picture and inform how we bring about further change by targeting equal career, training and development opportunities.”

 

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