When I qualify, I will have a prestigious job. There are no two ways about it – I might be a ward paper bitch 90% of the time but I will be paid a lot of money. What I previously hadn’t appreciated was quite how well paid doctors are.
The minimum salary for an F1 doctor is £22,412 per year. It’s a good wage, and not vastly different to, say, a teacher (£21,588 nowhere-near london, £27,000 in the middle) or a nurse (starting at band 5: £21,176). With the average graduate wage at £19,667 (and the median at £23,500), I was happily under the impression that I was earning an average-enough wage, and fair play to me. What I had not appreciated up until the past week was the supplement to this salary caused by banding: effectively antisocial hours pay for night shifts and late shifts, which puts a whopping third extra on top of that baseline figure. Circa £30,000 p.a. is an obscene amount of money. It’s more than I have lived on for the past five years, with change (and not including tuition fees!). Next year I will make what I lived on this entire year in under a month.
Why have I written this post? It is not, I assure you, to boast about how much money I’ll end up earning. This post is about this: the IFS tool for determining where in the income range you are compared to the rest of Britain. I, assuming that I live alone and spend £1800 on council tax (the rate for my old house in City I Live) puts me in with a higher weekly income than 90% of Britain. Surprise doesn’t really cover it. What does cover it, after the initial double-take, was guilt. I don’t feel that I have done enough, or will do enough, to justify that kind of reward. Yes, medicine is a long course and it’s tough, at points. The job itself is demanding and can be high pressure. Yes, I have debt, lots of it. Nevertheless, this…wealth seems almost inconceivable to me, gaudy, and I am ashamed of it.
Then again, the F1s I see don’t seem to be particularly well off – they still drive crap cars, live in hospital accommodation, and buy crap coffee from the canteen rather than expensocoffee from Costa. I don’t know how much the SLC will skim off, and there will be numerous expenses not included in that rather simple assessment of income – rent, families (although it is a little early for them in most cases) GMC registration and indemnity for starters. I also can’t fully appreciate how hard F1s work, having never personally had that responsibility. In a way, I hope that there are more expenses and that the work is hard, because at the moment I look at that figure and feel that it is unjustified.
On the other hand, tube drivers earn £45K for a 37.5 hour week. That makes me feel a lot better.