Women Scots NHS staff paid up to 28% less than men

Health Secretary Shona Robison MSP visits the new South Glasgow Hospitals. Picture: SWNS
Health Secretary Shona Robison MSP visits the new South Glasgow Hospitals. Picture: SWNS
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FEMALE NHS employees are earning up to 28 per cent less than their male counterparts, with senior staff hit hardest by gender pay divides at Scotland’s health improvement agency.

A new audit by NHS Health Scotland shows that despite the Equality Act 2010 giving men and women a right to equal pay for equal work, male workers in the organisation are being paid up to £12 an hour more than women in similar roles, and this is despite women having a longer average length of service.

It’s ridiculous that we still have to fight for equal pay

Alison Johnstone

The health agency, that employs 280 staff, said the gender pay gap had fallen by nearly four per cent since 2013. It said the differences could be attributed “almost entirely” to the gap in the hourly pay of senior staff at the organisation.

But last night critics described the figures as “appalling” and argued more should be done to ensure men and women are paid the same for equal jobs.

A Health Scotland equal pay audit for March 2015 reveals the gap between the average hourly wage of women and men in the organisation is 16 per cent.

For senior managers, executives and medical and dental consultants, the divide is even greater, with a 28 per cent gap in the hourly pay of women and men – despite women working in the service for an average of nearly 16 years compared 
12½ years for men.

The audit also revealed that black minority workers are paid nearly three per cent less than white co-workers for similar roles.

In 2015, male executives, senior managers and consultants were paid an average of £43.54 per hour, compared to £31.28 for females in the same pay band.

Alison Johnstone, Scottish Green MSP for Lothian, said: “These figures are appalling. It’s ridiculous that decades on from legislation, equal pay is something we still have to fight for. Successive governments have failed to take it seriously.

“The Scottish Government needs to get a grip of public services such as the NHS to ensure that women and men doing similar jobs are paid the same.”

Emma Ritch, executive director of Engender, who campaigns on behalf of women’s rights, added: “The figures published today suggest that there is still work to be done to deliver equality for the women who deliver the valuable services on which all of us depend.” According to the NHS Health Scotland audit: “The initial analysis of our workforce indicates the gender pay gap is 16.43 per cent, down from 18.54 per cent in 2014. In the executive, senior manager and consultant pay grades, the pay gap is 28.16 per cent.

“Length of service in this category has been considered; however women have a longer length of service on average than men – 15.96 years versus 12.51 years for men in 2015.

“NHS Health Scotland’s equal pay gap can be attributed almost entirely to differences in the pay among our executive, senior manager and medical/dental consultant staff.”