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Not so equal I EDITOR’S PAGE

Joint Consultant Editors Angela Grainger, Menna Lloyd Jones Editor  Peter Bradley Designer  Hal Bannister Publishing Director/Commercial  Andy Iafrati +44 20 3973 5665 Group Classified Manager  Lauren York Circulation Director  Sally Boettcher Production Manager  Kyri Apostolou Production Assistant  Larry Oakes Publishing Director  Chloe Benson Managing Director  Anthony Kerr Chief Executive Officer  Ben Allen

Editorial Board

Chris Barber Registered Nurse for those with a Learning Disability Maive Coley Healthcare Assistant (Obstetrics), Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust Chrissy Cowan Associate Corporate Educator, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust John Evans Health Care Support Worker, Cardiff and Vale University Local Health Board Anji Gardiner Director of Student Services, University of Hull

Chris Mullen MBE Independent Consultant Linda Nazarko Consultant Nurse, West London NHS Trust Ian Peate OBE Independent Consultant Vinice Thomas Head of Nursing, Specialised Commissioning, NHS England (London Region) Ian Costello Nursing Associate, Hertfordshire Partnership University Foundation Trust Liam Somers Lecturer, Nursing and Health Care Practice, Derby University

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British Journal of Healthcare Assistants is published by MA Healthcare Ltd, St Jude’s Church, Dulwich Road, London SE24 0PB, UK. Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454 Website:

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ISSN 1753-1586 Printed by Pensord Press Ltd, Blackwood, NP12 2YA

British Journal of Healthcare Assistants October 2021 Vol 15 No 9

Women in healthcare E

quality legislation in the UK goes back a long way, the chief milestones being the Equal Pay Act 1970, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and three major statutory instruments protecting discrimination in employment on grounds of religion or belief (2003), sexual orientation (2003) and age (2006). All of these laws were consolidated into one, the Equality Act 2010.

It is significant that, in practice, equality seems still so far away. Discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, sexuality and age continues to be a stain on the UK’s reputation.

Healthcare is not exempt from this inequality. In December last year, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) released a worrying report, Mend the gap: the independent review into the gender pay gap in medicine (Dacre and Woodhams, 2020). It revealed that, in England, women hospital doctors earn on average 18.9% less than men, while women GPs earn on average 15.3% less than men. How can such disparities exist, 50 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act 1970?

Another aspect of this unfairness is highlighted in our cover article on healthcare heroines (Page 422). Healthcare globally is overwhelmingly carried out by women—in the NHS, more than two-thirds (77%) of the workforce is female (NHS Employers, 2019). Yet surveys consistently show that healthcare leadership is overwhelmingly male. The beauty of the heroines article is that it shows women triumphing over many obstacles, including their own issues, to establish strong leadership roles in their countries. It is an inspiring read.

All the more disappointing then that a promising black female UK leader, Dame Donna Kinnair, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, should step down in June, amid unsavoury reports (Mansey and Powell, 2021). Alas.

All that said, we desperately need more men in healthcare! This month, we publish the final article in Ian Peate’s important series on human anatomy and physiology, where he discusses the largest organ of the body­—the skin (Page 446). Next month, we start a new series by Professor Peate, on common conditions; it should be essential reading.  BJHCA

Dacre J, Woodhams C. Mend the gap: the independent review into the gender pay gap in medicine. 2020. (accessed 7 October 2021) Mansey K, Powell M. Royal College of Nursing secretly paid former boss a £135,000 payoff after she was investigated over her links to Prince Charles’ donor George Farha. Mail on Sunday. 18 September 2021. https:// (accessed 7 October 2021) NHS Employers. Gender in the NHS

infographic. 2019. ydcxsb67 (accessed 7 October 2021)


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