Male doctors receive an average £67,788 in basic pay, compared with £57,569 for female doctors – a difference of £10,219 or 15%.
Women are paid 23% less than men despite the fact that the NHS employs far more women.
This is because the number of highly paid male doctors is a much bigger proportion of the male NHS workforce than female doctors are of the female workforce.
Mr Hunt has asked top doctor Professor Jane Dacre to lead the independent review to eliminate the gender pay gap in medicine.
Mr Hunt said: “The NHS holds a unique position in both British and global society as a shining beacon of equality among all, and so it is unacceptable that 70 years from its creation its own staff still face gender inequality.
“Even today, there remains a 15% gap between the pay of our male and female doctors – this has no place in a modern employer or the NHS and I’m determined to eliminate this gap.
“I’m delighted Jane Dacre – one of the most highly respected female medics in the NHS – has agreed to lead this important review and is perfectly placed to examine the barriers that stop our talented female doctors climbing to the top rung in the NHS career ladder.”
The review will consider the obstacles that stop female doctors progressing their NHS career in the same way as their male counterparts and look at issues such as the impact of motherhood on careers and progression.
Prof Dacre, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said: “I am grateful for the Government’s commitment to act on the recommendations of the review, not just for women doctors now, but for our future workforce.
“Over 50% of medical school entrants are women, and we owe it to them and their future commitment to the NHS to ensure they are treated fairly.”
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While the review will focus on the medical profession, it is expected to have wider implications for the rest of the NHS and key recommendations could be rolled out across all staff groups.
It is expected to conclude at the end of the year, with recommendations published in due course.