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Hospital doctor: Salary and conditions

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  • Junior doctors in their first year of postgraduate foundation training (F1) earn a basic salary of around £22,636 a year. The basic salary in Foundation Year 2 increases to £28,076. They also receive a supplement or banding according to the rotation. This is based on the intensity of work and the number of hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week and/or work outside the hours of 7am - 7pm, Monday to Friday.
  • Doctors in specialist training earn a basic salary of around £30,002 plus supplement.
  • Consultants earn a basic annual salary of between around £74,249 and £101,451 depending on length of service and payment of additional performance-related awards.
  • Doctors often work very long and unsocial hours, including weekends, evenings and nights (usually on a rota basis), although working hours vary according to specialty. The European Working Time Directive (EWTD) has made it illegal for junior doctors to work more than 48 hours a week.
  • Working conditions vary according to specialty. Settings include wards, consulting rooms, operating theatres, laboratories, and special units such as accident and emergency (A&E).
  • Self-employment or freelance work is possible. A variety of private practice opportunities exist, depending on experience and specialist knowledge.
  • Once qualified and experienced, career breaks are usually possible.
  • The majority of medical students are now female. However, in many of the more senior grades throughout National Health Service (NHS) , there is a significantly higher proportion of male doctors. This situation is changing, due to the increasing numbers of women entering the profession and working their way up the grading scale.
  • Opportunities exist in most large towns and cities throughout the country.
  • There are some opportunities to work in different parts of the country as a locum, or to practise abroad. It may be necessary to move to a different part of the country to get the job you really want.
  • The work may be demanding, both mentally and physically, with long, unsocial hours, and you will be taking responsibility for patients' health and wellbeing.
  • Balancing work with further study for about five years after graduation is usually needed in order to gain specialist qualifications.
  • Travel is occasionally required as part of the working day. Doctors on an on-call rota system are frequently absent from home overnight.

Salary figures are intended as a guide only.

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Written by AGCAS editors
October 2013

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