Matt Hancock says NHS 'doesn't care enough about its own staff' as he vows action on gender pay gap

Posted On: 
25th April 2019

The NHS too often "doesn't care enough about its own workers" and must do more to close its "deeply troubling" gender pay gap, according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

The Health Secretary succeeded Jeremy Hunt in the role last year.

In a major speech at the Royal College of Physicians' Annual Conference on Thursday, the Cabinet minister will call on the health service to give staff more flexibility in a bid to stop burnout.

And he will promise tougher action to close the gap between what women and men earn in the organisation.

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"We need an NHS working culture that reflects Britain 2019 and accommodates how people expect to work and live now," he will say.

"So it should be deeply troubling to all of us that the NHS gender pay gap is still 23 per cent, that male GPs are, on average, paid a third more than female GPs and that over half of junior doctors are women, but at consultant level it's only a third.

"The gender gap is a good barometer of the health of the NHS, and it's clear we must do better."

The Health Secretary will also point to stories of doctors who "couldn’t get time off to attend a wedding or a funeral".

And he will highlight his own experience of family members who have had to miss "important family events because the rota says no" as he calls for NHS bosses to fix working patterns a minimum of six weeks in advance.

"The NHS: it's a caring organisation,' he will say. "That's what it does. And yet, sometimes it doesn't care enough about its own workers.

"So yes, we need more staff, more resources, better technology, and on my watch, we will have all of those.

"But more than anything we need to create a more caring, a more compassionate culture."

The move to highlight gender inequality in the service has been welcomed by Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden, chair of The Doctors' Association UK campaign group.

"The current gender pay gap, arduous rotas and inflexible working patterns are all barriers for female doctors training to become consultants or GPs, or in taking up leadership roles," she said.