Almost three quarters of anaesthetists in training subjected to late or inaccurate salary payments by NHS hospitals

New research published today reveals almost three quarters of anaesthetic doctors in training who responded to a survey1, were not being paid correctly by their hospitals during the run up to the 2017-2018 winter period. With two months to go before anaesthetists in training start their new posts in August, the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) and the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain & Ireland (AAGBI) have been working with NHS Employers to find solutions.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of anaesthetists in training who responded to our survey between September and October 2017 experienced late or inaccurate salary payments in the prior 12 months. The timing of the survey coincided with the run-up to the most challenging winter period in the NHS. RCoA and AAGBI undertook the survey in response to concerns expressed by trainee members of both organisations.

The survey received 518 responses, which accounted for approximately 16% of the AAGBI trainee membership. Results revealed widespread issues with salary payments, with

  • 79% of respondents who had received a late or inaccurate salary, having experienced this on multiple occasions
  • the majority of salary issues (57%) were still not resolved at the time of completing the survey
  • less than one in five (18%) respondents who had experienced a salary problem had it resolved within a month.

At the most extreme, some anaesthetists in training (8% of respondents) had a salary discrepancy of more than £3,000, with the majority of respondents reporting underpayments between £500 and £1,000. The effect on doctors of this late or inaccurate payment and the length of time taken to correct and resolve the issue caused almost 40% of respondents to face financial hardship. Respondents reported overdraft fees, delayed mortgage applications and the need to rely on savings.

NHS Employers have made the following resources available to help:

Dr Liam Brennan, President of the Royal College of Anaesthetists said: “Incorrect salary payments to doctors who are working under significant pressure are unacceptable. At a time when trainees are already coping with the challenges of starting in a new post this added stress undoubtedly contributes to poor morale. The RCoA has been working closely with the AAGBI, NHS Employers and anaesthetists in training to find solutions to resolve this widespread problem.”

Dr Paul Clyburn, President of the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain & Ireland said: “Our hard-pressed trainees are working at a time of unprecedented demand. Not getting paid correctly at the end of the month is unacceptable and is an area of high concern for all involved. Unexpected financial pressures on individuals only serves to worsen their morale and wellbeing.”

Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive of NHS Employers said: “Late or inaccurate salary payments can be distressing and lead to financial difficulties. Doctors in training rotate between different employers which can increase the possibility of errors.

“This survey rightly challenges employers and others to address salary errors to improve staff experience.

“The results of this survey show different issues relating to salary errors, some in the control of employers, some not.  We will work over the coming weeks with employers and national bodies to address the issues that contribute to payment problems.


  1. Joint AAGBI/RCoA survey on Trainee Salary issues, September to October 2017 (518 responses – approximately 16% of AAGBI trainee membership).


16 June 2018