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New staff network focuses on gender pay gap

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Staff at Oxford University Hospitals celebrated International Women's Day on Thursday 8 March 2018 at the launch of a new OUH Women's Network.

The first meeting of the Network at the John Radcliffe Hospital focused on the Gender Pay Gap.

Chief Nurse Sam Foster and Director of Assurance Eileen Walsh said: "Our Women's Network will provide a monthly space for staff across the Trust to come together and discuss issues that disproportionately affect women."

The topics at the next two meetings will be flexible working and sexual harassment.

The focus on the Gender Pay Gap at the inaugural Women's Network was timely because OUH's first Gender Pay Gap Report will be discussed at the Trust Board meeting on Wednesday 14 March.

Government legislation now requires all UK public sector organisations and private sector companies which employ 250 or more staff to publish gender pay information annually.

The gender pay gap is the difference between the average earnings of men and women in an organisation. It is not the same as equal pay which relates to men and women being paid equally for equal work, a legal requirement in the UK and a principle which OUH is committed to and abides by.

OUH's first annual Gender Pay Gap Report shows that the organisation has a significant gender pay gap. This is largely due to the fact that a higher proportion of men are in senior management and medical consultant posts while a higher proportion of women are in nursing, administrative and other jobs which tend to be lower paid.

This is exacerbated by bonus pay which is largely driven by additional payments to medical consultants. As a higher proportion of consultants are men, this creates a larger gender pay gap.

The report also highlights that more needs to be done to help women progress in their careers because women are staying within the same Agenda for Change pay bands for longer than men.

Agenda for Change is the national pay structure which covers the majority of posts in the NHS, apart from medical consultants and the most senior managers. It ensures that staff are paid equally for equal work but, if women are not promoted to positions on a higher pay band, their salaries will not increase at the same rate as they would if they were moving up through the pay bands.

Dame Fiona Caldicott, Chairman of OUH and a role model for women in the NHS as the first female President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: "I welcome the introduction of gender pay gap reporting because transparency does drive change. Our Gender Pay Gap Report shows that we need to do much more to create opportunities for our many talented female staff to achieve their potential.

"The report highlights the fact that 75 percent of our staff are women but a disproportionate number of men are in the most senior and most highly paid positions. Understanding the reasons why we have a gender pay gap means that we have the information we need to tackle it.

"This situation is not unique to OUH. We know it is likely to be a similar picture across much of the NHS and indeed other public and private sector organisations, but I and my colleagues on the Trust Board are determined to take the action required to achieve change in this.

"No single action will eliminate the gender pay gap. Making a significant difference to the current gap will take time but we are committed to reducing it."

The OUH Trust Board will be asked to approve an action plan at its meeting on Wednesday 14 March 2018 based on the findings of the report - key actions include:

  • introducing a salary scale for the most senior managers whose pay does not come under the Agenda for Change pay structure, initially to cover newly appointed senior managers but over time all staff within this staff group
  • conducting an audit into decisions relating to the pay of medical consultants
  • analysing data to understand why some women are not being promoted through the Agenda for Change pay bands
  • consulting with staff across the Trust about the gender pay gap and barriers to career progression.

The Gender Pay Gap Report is available to read in full on this website:

Gender Pay Gap Report 2017/18 (pdf, 170 KB)