Junior doctor Alex Ashman has the inside story on what junior doctors are actually paid.
A new ‘investigation’ by the Daily Mail has apparently revealed that fifty thousand NHS staff earn more than £100k. The timing of this announcement is somewhat suspicious, coming as it does during a dispute over junior doctors’ pay. But how much do junior doctors actually earn?
A first year doctor (F1), having completed five/six years in medical school, receives a basic salary of £22,636. Thanks to below-inflation pay rises under the coalition government, today’s F1s are as much as £6,300 worse off compared to F1s in 2010.1
F1s are paid poorly because they traditionally received free onsite hospital accommodation. This was taken away in 2010, but there was no compensatory pay increase.
After one year, F1s become F2s, and their basic pay rises to £28,076. Further progression is rewarded with smaller increases thus:
|Year of Service||Typical Title||Basic Pay||Minimum Age|
|First||House Officer / F1||£22,636||23|
|Second||Senior House Officer / F2||£28,076||24|
|Third||Senior House Officer / CT1||£30,002||25|
|Fourth||Senior House Officer / CT2||£31,838||26|
|Fifth||Registrar / ST3||£34,402||27|
|Sixth||Registrar / ST4||£35,952||28|
|Seventh||Registrar / ST5||£37,822||29|
|Eighth||Registrar / ST6||£39,693||30|
|Ninth||Registrar / ST7||£41,564||31|
|Tenth||Registrar / ST8||£43,434||32|
|Eleventh||Registrar / ST9||£45,304||33|
For many junior doctors, basic pay is funded by their regional deanery. The hospital they work for then pays a banding supplement based on the unsocial nature of the hours they work (nights/weekends/long shifts).
Banding supplements were introduced to punish hospitals for overworking their junior doctors. Doctors working traditional 80-hour weeks were given up to 100% extra pay, ending the 80-hour week pretty damned quickly!
Today’s junior doctors seldom receive the higher banding rates. A few receive a 0% rate and are ‘unbanded’, meaning they work 36 hour weeks. Most junior doctors work up to 48 or 56 hours a week, meaning they work 30-55% additional hours. For this they receive 20, 40 or 50% more pay, depending on just how many long shifts, nights, weekends and bank holidays they work.
How Many Junior Doctors Earn 100k?
None of them. Not unless they have a side job that pays more than their work as a doctor! As demonstrated above, doctors can easily reach their mid-thirties without ever getting anywhere near such a salary. Even a junior doctor in their tenth year earns less than an newly-elected MP.2
1 – In 2010 an F1 earned £22,412 basic pay, which would be £26,840 in today’s money. Assuming they work in a post with 50% banding pay, today’s F1s are £6,300 worse off compared with their 2010 colleagues.
2 – MPs currently receive an annual salary of £74,000 plus expenses. Compare this with an ST8 on 50% banding, who will earn £65,151 but have to pay their own professional expenses.