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UK Doctors’ Salary and Satisfaction Report 2019

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UK Doctors’ Salary and Satisfaction Report 2019

Tim Locke | May 31, 2019 | Contributor Information

UK Doctors’ Salary and Satisfaction Report 2019

Are doctors in the UK taking home more money? Is the gender pay gap narrowing? Are doctors happy in their work? What are the most challenging aspects of the job? We attempt to answer these questions and more in our second UK-specific Medscape doctors' income survey based on responses from more than 1000 GPs and specialists, who are Medscape members, between 8th January and 13th February 2019. Label values on charts are rounded but rankings and calculations are based on raw data to avoid rounding errors.

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UK Doctors’ Salary and Satisfaction Report 2019

Tim Locke | May 31, 2019 | Contributor Information

GPs' average full-time earnings for 2018 haven't risen much since we last asked about 2016's figures. The situation for specialists is worse with an average £1000 a year pay cut. Specialists do, however, earn 11% more than GPs. GP's median earnings dropped by £10,000 to £90,000. Specialists' median pay rose £5000 to £100,000. The UK inflation rate at the end of 2018 was 2%. The survey results appear to confirm the concerns raised by the British Medical Association (BMA) when last year's NHS 2% pay rise for England was announced, that many doctors would see a real-terms fall in pay. Different pay deals were awarded in the rest of the UK, but 83% of our survey responses were from England. Of those who did get a pay rise, annual increases and grade progression were mentioned, others said they'd taken on more work, or more private work. One simply said: "worked harder".

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UK Doctors’ Salary and Satisfaction Report 2019

Tim Locke | May 31, 2019 | Contributor Information

Full-time male GPs in our survey earned over a quarter (26%) more than their female counterparts in 2018. The GP gender pay gap has closed a little since 2016 when our figures were at 29%. Overall, England's NHS pay gap is put at 23%. In April, Health Secretary Matt Hancock promised to tackle inequalities.

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UK Doctors’ Salary and Satisfaction Report 2019

Tim Locke | May 31, 2019 | Contributor Information

The gender pay gap was even higher among specialists than among GPs, with women taking home 38% less than men. Underpaid female specialists may take some comfort from the gap having narrowed significantly in 2018 from 56% in 2016. Matt Hancock has said: "We need a culture of transparency in pay, promotion and reward if we’re going to close the gender pay gap." In addition to a gender pay gap, our data also show an ethnicity pay gap, with Asian/Asian British GPs and specialists overall earning around £21,000 a year less than their white counterparts. Twenty-nine percent of respondents were Asian/Asian British compared with 54% white, and 6% Black/African/Caribbean/Black British.

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UK Doctors’ Salary and Satisfaction Report 2019

Tim Locke | May 31, 2019 | Contributor Information

When it comes to a fair day's wage for a fair day's work, only a third of GPs thought that was the case. Specialists were a bit happier with their lot (41%). Older doctors were far more likely (46%) to be satisfied with their pay than younger ones (30%). Despite gender pay gaps, women were only slightly less likely (38%) than men (41%) to be content with their wages. Overall, 11% of doctors said they live above their means, 63% at their means, and 24% below their means.

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UK Doctors’ Salary and Satisfaction Report 2019

Tim Locke | May 31, 2019 | Contributor Information

Full-time male GPs spent on average 33 hours a week with patients. The number for female GPs was 3 hours less. For 71% of GPs the average consultation time was 9-12 minutes. Male doctors were more likely to do 9-12 minute consultations, and more female doctors did 13-16 minute sessions.

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UK Doctors’ Salary and Satisfaction Report 2019

Tim Locke | May 31, 2019 | Contributor Information

When it comes to paperwork and admin tasks, 15 hours or longer a week was the norm for nearly half of doctors (48%). GPs did around 2 hours more admin a week than specialists. There was no measurable paperwork gender gap among GPs, but female specialists did an average of 2 hours more a week than their male counterparts did.

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UK Doctors’ Salary and Satisfaction Report 2019

Tim Locke | May 31, 2019 | Contributor Information

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is keen for the NHS in England to embrace the latest technology to help doctors with their practice. So we asked about adoption of teleconsultations. Twenty-six percent said they'd used them, and this was more common among GPs (48%) than specialists (23%). Of those using teleconsultation, 72% were satisfied with the performance. A further 12% planned to use this technology. Individual comments included: "In general the NHS IT support is awful. I've only once been able to do a remote conference satisfactorily in the last 10 years, and that IT chap has moved on.", "Does not replace the interaction in the room with a patient and is just a way of cramming more work our way." For another: "Patients often not answering phone which leads to greater time spent repeating the calls." Fitness and other wearable trackers may have the power to monitor some patient conditions. Thirty-four percent either use them, recommend them, or both. One sceptic said: "The recordings (of ECG etc) are always of sub-diagnostic quality." However, another said: "This is a useful area for monitoring glucose, cardiac arrhythmia, 24hr BP."

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UK Doctors’ Salary and Satisfaction Report 2019

Tim Locke | May 31, 2019 | Contributor Information

Most UK doctors are satisfied with their job performance, our survey suggests. More than a quarter were very satisfied, with just 4% dissatisfied or very dissatisfied. Specialists (85%) were slightly more likely to be satisfied or very satisfied than GPs (80%). Men (84%) were slightly happier with personal work performance than were women (82%). Individual reasons for job satisfaction included: "Doing the best for each patient and getting amazing feedback", "Clearly understanding my role, and having the resources to achieve this", "Being able to help people and pushing myself to the limit every day to maintain good performance", "Good work/life balance", and: "A job well done", "I love my job, mostly, although not always. Couldn't really ask for a better job. I get to do something I enjoy, I am good at it, for the most part I am my own boss."

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UK Doctors’ Salary and Satisfaction Report 2019

Tim Locke | May 31, 2019 | Contributor Information

Being good at the job was the most rewarding aspect of practising medicine for more than a third of respondents. Second was the gratitude of patients, followed by making the world a better place. Those picking the world improvement choice had nearly doubled since we last asked 2 years ago. This also mattered more to specialists than GPs. Specialists were also slightly more likely to say being good at the job. Patient relationships mattered more to GPs. Individual answers included: "Trying to find a cure for cancer", "Teaching the next generation", "Sometimes seeing weird presentations," and a "Privilege to care for others". One GP said: "I'll be retiring soon," and a urologist agreed: "The anticipation of retiring on a good pension in 1649 days' time." For a psychiatrist, "Making good money," but adding "I don't like the job".

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UK Doctors’ Salary and Satisfaction Report 2019

Tim Locke | May 31, 2019 | Contributor Information

Seventy percent of respondents work in the NHS alone, 27% did private work too, while only 3% were purely private. So it wasn't surprising that NHS-related challenges topped our list of gripes. After the busiest winter on record for the NHS, workload and staffing levels came top (50%). Next was NHS rules and regulations. These dominated over other practice issues like difficult patients and long working hours. Staffing and workload issues were more of an issue for specialists (51%) than GPs (40%). Overall these concerns rose 3% over the 2016 data. We also asked if working in the NHS had become harder or easier, and 81% said harder, 18% no change, and it was easier for just 1%.

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UK Doctors’ Salary and Satisfaction Report 2019

Tim Locke | May 31, 2019 | Contributor Information

Individual answers about job challenges included: "Staggering staffing shortages, working long hours and burnout. Physical and mental stresses.", other frustrations raised were: "Emotional exhaustion", "Dealing with difficult colleagues", "Bullying/undermining at work, worries about career progression and training.", Management issues were a common theme: "Poor management, dysfunctional department", "Dealing with incompetent managers and idiotic government regulations", For others, colleagues cause problems: "Working with staff who don't like their jobs", "Dealing with racist and discriminating bigots in the so-called professional team of doctors", Other comments included: "Staying focused on what really matters when all around me is chaos", and: "Bad IT systems." Pension tax issues are likely to be a bigger theme in future: "Constant erosion of working conditions and rewards eg, decreased SPA time and pension pressure." Burnout was reported by 32% of UK doctors in our 2018 Burnout & Lifestyle Survey.

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UK Doctors’ Salary and Satisfaction Report 2019

Tim Locke | May 31, 2019 | Contributor Information

Despite all the challenges and pay concerns, the majority of doctors (61%) would pick medicine as a career if they were starting out again. Specialists (62%) said this more than GPs (56%). Younger doctors (under 45) were less convinced (55%) than older ones (65%). There was a gender divide too, with only 55% of women picking the same path compared to men (63%). Separately, 43% of UK doctors overall would recommend a medical career to their children. One who said 'no' commented: "Too demanding. Not rewarding." However, one said they ticked 'yes' because: "It is one of the best careers. No danger of unemployment." For another: "Yes but not necessarily in the UK."

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UK Doctors’ Salary and Satisfaction Report 2019

Tim Locke | May 31, 2019 | Contributor Information

Having said they'd pick medicine again, what about the same specialty or practice setting? More than three quarters (77%) would pick the same specialty. Specialists were more convinced (79%) than GPs (63%). GPs were more likely to pick the same practice setting (27%) than specialists (18%).

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UK Doctors’ Salary and Satisfaction Report 2019

Tim Locke | May 31, 2019 | Contributor Information

Have many doctors just had enough of the NHS and the UK? Nearly a third (31%) told us they were considering moving to practise in another country. We got a similar result when we asked 2 years ago. GPs (38%) were more likely to consider emigrating than specialists (30%). With uncertainty caused by Brexit, would this affect the plans for overseas doctors working in the UK? It would, 9% said, 24% said not. That's a big change from 2 years ago when 30% said plans might change, so reassurances over EU citizen's right to remain and other moves may have eased some concerns.

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UK Doctors’ Salary and Satisfaction Report 2019

Tim Locke | May 31, 2019 | Contributor Information

We've documented concerns over working in the NHS, so are many doctors thinking of moving to more private work? More than a quarter said they were (28%). This was a more popular option with men (30%) than women (23%), and GPs (34%) over specialists (27%).

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UK Doctors’ Salary and Satisfaction Report 2019

Tim Locke | May 31, 2019 | Contributor Information

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UK Doctors’ Salary and Satisfaction Report 2019

Tim Locke | May 31, 2019 | Contributor Information

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UK Doctors’ Salary and Satisfaction Report 2019

Tim Locke | May 31, 2019 | Contributor Information

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