How much do junior doctors earn?

In this article, I’ll give a broad overview of the salary ranges you can expect to earn. To work out how much you will earn based on the hours you work & your personal tax circumstances use our Junior Doctor Pay Calculator.

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Junior doctors’ salaries vary by their grade and the amount of out-of-hours we work. It is calculated depending on the contract under which we’re working with the relevant taxes deducted – you can find a breakdown of how this is calculated here.

Overview of Calculations

This is explained in more detail here but I’ll provide a quick overview. At each grade, there is a “basic pay” which is the minimum you earn for working a 40-hour week. If you do extra hours or out-of-hours work, you’ll be paid an extra percentage of your basic salary for the extra work that you do which is added to your “basic pay” to make your “gross pay”. Deductions are then taken off (such as tax, pensions, loans & mess fees) which gives you your “net pay” which is what you take home.

Several weeks before you start work you will be provided with a generic work schedule which tells you how much you’ll earn. Although different doctors will be on different parts of the rota (hence some will work more or fewer nights/weekends than the average), you are paid an average in accordance with the generic rota so everyone is paid the same every month.

Annual Gross Pay

This is the total amount earned for hours worked before any deductions. England uses the 2016 Contract whereas the rest of the UK uses the older 2002 Contract. In the 2016 Contract, the “basic pay” is higher but the amount one earns extra for working unsocial hours is less. This is reflected below, where in Northern Ireland (for example) you’ll earn at the bottom of the salary range for “Low Intensity” but may earn on the higher side of medium/high intensity. The salary within a given area is broadly the same (there is a minimal increase of £2,162 per year of working in London).

GradeLow IntensityMedium IntensityHigh Intensity
Low Intensity = 40 hours per week without evenings/nights/weekends
Medium Intensity = 44 hours per week working occasional weekends/evenings
High Intensity = 48 hours per week working very frequent weekends/nights

Annual Net Pay

This is the take-home pay after deductions. Deductions can be quite significant as they include income tax, national insurance, pension contributions, student loan repayments, GMC fees, Indemnity fees, BMA subscription, Postgraduate Exams & finally Portfolio fees. Together, this works out to be about 25-45% of your total salary (higher when you are more senior & earn more).

Below we will give you examples in England of how much you’d earn (take-home) salary which isn’t too different from other places. We’ve deducted income tax, NI, pension contributions, and student loan repayments but not the rest.

GradeLow IntensityMedium IntensityHigh Intensity
Low Intensity = 40 hours per week without evenings/nights/weekends
Medium Intensity = 44 hours per week working occasional weekends/evenings
High Intensity = 48 hours per week working very frequent weekends/nights

Monthly rate: Divide above by 12
Weekly rate: Divide above by 52
Approx Hourly rate: Divide above by 52 multiplied by the number of hours per week (e.g. 40 x 52 = 2080 for low intensity)

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