Pay Survey 2019
Many of you will know the heart-sink
feeling when you look at your
bank account or payslip and get
the awful realisation that you have
been paid incorrectly. Despite not
being at fault personally, the next
steps include multiple phone calls
and emails, valuable time wasted
in search of fairness and resolution,
not to mention the HMRC’s ‘hold
music’. For many, this is more than
a slight inconvenience and can lead
to significant financial hardship.
The Association of Anaesthetists and RCoA first investigated
this issue in 2017, aiming to establish the extent to which
anaesthetists in training were experiencing difficulties with
their pay . More than statistics, the nine pages of free text
comments made for difficult reading. In response to the survey,
we met with NHS Employers and highlighted resources for
anaesthetists in training. Although well received, we wanted
to see whether these had led to any tangible improvement as
shown by a reduction in the number of issues encountered.
A repeat joint survey was therefore completed in 2019 to assess
the current situation .
- 55% of respondents had received late or
inaccurate salary in the previous 12 months (down
from 73% in 2017).
- 30% of this group had suffered on multiple
- 15% of respondents had suffered financial
hardship as a result of receiving an inaccurate
- 66% of respondents had been given an
emergency tax code, of whom 50% had
experienced this on multiple occasions.
- 37% of respondents did not know their current tax
- 22% of respondents believed that their tax code
- 50% of respondents had inaccurate additional pay
- 52% of respondents report little or no
understanding of their payslip.
As in 2017, the qualitative data from the free text
sections (a further nine pages of grim reading)
brought the issue into sharp focus, and thematic
analysis highlighted some common problems:
- Communication issues with HR departments.
- Issues involving HMRC, predominantly relating to
emergency tax codes.
- A desire to adopt a lead employer trust system to
mitigate some of these issues.
Regardless of the exact cause, the consequences of receiving
incorrect pay, and the time and effort required to resolve it, leads
to low morale and feelings of being undervalued. The following
submission summarises our main concerns:
“Incredibly stressful getting underpaid every time I rotate, which
often is every three months. It is a massive waste of my time
(often unsuccessfully) chasing my missing pay. It is affecting my
wellbeing and has affected me financially negatively.”
Improving the situation
We are committed to working on your behalf to improve your
financial wellbeing – indeed we feel that this is such an important
issue that we have devoted this entire edition of
to it. We hope this serves as a resource to help you address
pay related issues whenever they occur, with additional resources. We are working with our advocacy and campaigns manager,
in coordination with the RCoA, to highlight the issue and how
it affects a workforce already under pressure. Through both
organisations, we have links with decision-makers at Trust,
deanery and national level. Building on the relationships formed
following the last survey, we aim to influence those in positions
of power to embrace solutions such as the lead employer
model, leading to positive system change. We hope you find the
resources useful and, as ever, are keen to hear about the issues
that affect you.
If you are in financial difficulty, free impartial advice can be found
the Money Advice Service.
Vice-Chair, Association of Anaesthetists Trainee Committee
ST6 Anaesthetics, South East Scotland School of Anaesthesia
Past Honorary Secretary, Association of Anaesthetists Trainee
Clinical Fellow in Paediatric Anaesthesia, The Hospital for Sick
- Royal College of Anaesthetists. Almost three quarters of
anaesthetists in training subjected to late or inaccurate
salary payments by NHS hospitals, 2018. https://www.rcoa.
- Association of Anaesthetists. Trainee pay issues survey:
Association statement, 2019. https://anaesthetists.org/Home/