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Copy and Haste VI: Doctors Stacking Shelves

Copy-and-Haste-VI-Doctors-Stacking-Shelves-Rohin Francis.jpg

Is it really better to stack shelves than be a doctor in training? (Edited: Rohin Francis)

During the contentious dispute between the government and the British Medical Association, a debate has raged on social media about the contract for junior doctors. A Facebook post by Stumpy Hanvey, which has been shared over 4,700 times, states:

From next April a junior Doctor earning £23000 a year, equates to £442.30 a week. if they manage to stick to 56 hours (highly unlikely) that’s just £7.89 an hour. As of April next year Ikea staff paid £7.85/hr, Aldi £8.40/hr, Lidl and Morrisons £8.20/hr. This really brings it home how much our Health Secretary values Junior Doctors, when they can quit and go earn more per hour stacking tins of beans at their local Aldi and only have to work 52hrs to earn the same yearly salary and saving themselves 4 hrs a week, not £420/- to the GMC, save money on paying the professional indemnity insurance and BMA fees. Why stay a doctor in the NHS?



This is based upon a flaw in basic arithmetic. You cannot derive a person’s hourly wage by taking their annual salary, then dividing by 52, and then dividing by the contracted hours. This ignores that doctors in training, like other employees, have holidays.

Furthermore, the minimum base pay for a foundation doctor in their first year is £22,636, according to the BMA [1]. In their second, this salary rises to £28,076.


Only foundation doctors in their first year could earn £23,000 a year. (Source: BMA)

The NHS Employers Organisation claim that the average total salary for a doctor in training is around £37,000 [2]. The pay circular also states that the basic hourly rate for a first year foundation doctor is £11.53 [3]. This is much higher than the claimed £7.85.


The current salary has a basic rate, with numerous supplements. (Source: NHS Employers)

Whilst we may desire that doctors in training receive more money, trade-offs within overall salary expenditure must be made. These debates are already inflamed, without the dilution of facts.


[1] BMA, 2015. Pay scales for junior doctors in England for 2015-16. Available from: [Accessed: 12th February 2016]

[2] BBC, 2015. Junior doctors’ pay: How does your job compare? Available from: [Accessed: 12th February 2016]

[3] NHS Employers, 2015. Pay and Conditions Circular (M&D) 1/2015. Available from: [Accessed: 12th February 2016]


One comment on “Copy and Haste VI: Doctors Stacking Shelves

  1. Pingback: A direct response to some Social Media comments | managementinmedicine

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This entry was posted on February 13, 2016 by in Social Media and tagged , , .
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