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Independents' Day

GP earnings drop for seventh year in a row

Official figures reveal that GPs’ annual earnings have fallen by almost a quarter in seven years, finds Joe Davis

Pre-tax GP income fell to an average of £102,000 in 2012/13 due to soaring expenses levels, the latest official NHS figures show. Earnings dropped by 0.9% compared with 2011/12 – the seventh consecutive annual fall when inflation is taken into account.

Average GP partner income before tax peaked at £129,994 in the UK after the introduction of the 2004 contract, but has since declined by almost 22% in real terms.

The GPC said the figures demonstrated continuing ‘inadequate investment’ in general practice, with rising expenses swallowing up GP funding.

GP earnings graphic-online

The figures, published last month by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, are the most up-to-date record of gross earnings before pension contributions are deducted.

In the GP funding deal for 2012/13, NHS Employers said GP funding in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland should be uplifted by 0.5% to help meet increased practice expenses and to ‘put a strong emphasis on improved patient care’.

But the HSCIC figures show income dropped while expenses rose by 2.9%, with the expenses-to-earnings ratio rising by 0.9 percentage points to 62.5%.

English GP partners earned the most at £105,100 before tax, compared with £88,800 in Scotland, £91,000 in Wales and £92,200 in Northern Ireland.

Salaried GP pay was not hit as hard, with average income before tax decreasing by 0.6% between 2011/12 and 2012/13, from £56,800 to £56,400.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the figures showed GPs had been ‘singularly disadvantaged’ when considered alongside other comparative NHS healthcare staff.

He said: ‘This highlights the Government’s continued inadequate investment in general practice, which is not keeping up with the rising expenses of running a GP practice to meet the increasing volumes of care GPs provide.’


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Readers' comments (12)

  • The report doesn't say what proportion are working part time and this amount still puts them into the top 2% of wage earners. Yes it's stressful but so are many jobs, yes it's skilled but so are many jobs and to be fair GPs are self employed with few of the downsides of self employment andmnay of the benefits of the NHS including pension. I didn't hear any GPs moaning when the salaries went up when the contact was renegotiated in fact my GP friends and colleagues said they would work less and earn the same. So not sure I see the value of this report

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  • To Anon 12.59
    the NHS pension does not really apply to GP partners as others ie most nhs employees pay 12% wages and employer 14% as GP self employed we pay both = 26% and due to rise so pension is not a great benefit as many think esp as have to work to 67 to get it and payouts falling. most people don't pay 10 000 pounds per year in defence fees and membership to professional bodies. The average gp 80 -90 000 not 100 as suggested this mean is skewed by 1% who manage to earn 140000. so after pension and fees more like 55 000 before tax.
    I don't think anyone is complaining about the money itself its more the excess workload the denigration of the preofession the abuse from press politicians and the public to do more with less.
    really this is a 50% pay cut as people come to see GPs twice as often than 10 years ago with more complex problems and as gov moves work out of hospital to GP. Lets not forget the average salaried doc earns 56 000 and pay pension and fees out of that. UI think hosp docs do a lot better for less work and then private on top so why should med students be GPs?
    Certainly most people who are motivated and intelligent enough to go to med school could do a lot better as an accountant lawyer banker etc. Some appreciation by the nation and less bad press would go a long way.

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  • Took Early Retirement

    Actually, I think the money is carp compared to what other professionals get. Lawyers in a big London firm make over £300k as partners.

    anon is jealous.

    People say, "well if it that bad, leave"- so I did!

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  • Perhaps the RCGP can use these stats in their efforts to counter the negativity towards GP world from young medical graduates.Best of luck.

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  • more like 25% in 3 years and if PMS then add in another 10 % very rapidly as well. Tell you what why don't we give the public the same access to every profession that they do to GP for the same funding and see how long it is until the other professions walked. The reason we don't walk is because by and large we care. Keep pushing us and the stream of us throwing in the towel will become a torrent and as soon as that happens you'll not find a solution that can match access the value or the quality.

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  • Other Healthcare professional
    You are a right little troll aren't you!
    I think if the head of Tesco or M&S kept getting a pay cut every year in spite of hitting more and more targets, they would walk!
    Most GPs have mortgages and other expenses, many bought houses in the peak of the market. I literally struggle to pay my mortgage monthly. I accept my expenses may be higher than yours but should I sell my house move my family etc due to year on year actual (not "real terms") pay cuts and do this while being grateful??

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  • Overworked and underpaid....................... but most still find time for "private work" usually netting more than the NHS income. NHS appointments will get cancelled if a Partner is on leave or on sick but never the private ones. That's because the NHS income is guaranteed so becomes a lower priority. If GP Partners were really "overworked" surely it would make sense for them to give up one or the other??

    A lot of GP Partners haven't had a "real" increase in 7 years but then again neither have their staff and it is much harder getting by on £900 per month than on £900 per day!!

    Food for thought that's all!!!!

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  • WTF? Private income? I've yet to meet an nhs GP who does any private work? working ooh for pittance maybe. Ignorance is bliss as they say.

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  • This comment has been moderated.

  • Yes, what private work? We do not have the luxury, unlike our secondary care colleagues, to have a thriving private practice.

    Our so called "private work" is charging for work that we actually do e.g. Insurance forms, passport forms, letters etc. which is pittance compared to what hospital consultants earn.

    You clearly do not know the first thing about how general practice finance operates.

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  • Many other public sector workers - such as teachers are overworked but earn a third of what GPs do. Please see sense: GPs are extremely well-paid compared to 95% of the working population, and wingeing about GP partners pay falling to just £102K a year will engender little public sympathy.

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  • other healthcare 'professional'??!! 3.56pm - GP Partners are independent contractors to the NHS i.e. work with the public sector NOT for it. I do not know many state teachers who own their school nor pay all the other staff within the school out of their own salary. But please if you have examples, pray do tell?
    Otherwise I suspect a better comparison than yours would be 'professional' footballer on £102/wk for kicking a leather spherical object for 90 minute maybe once or twice a week against the dedicated community business building and owning health and social care providing jack of all trades; society's safety net for any of life's ills or personal dysfunctions- physical, psychological, spiritual, real or unreal. for £102/yr.
    So do not compare GP Partners pay to public sector work because it is not COMPARABLE!! By all means create a salaried GP workforce to work in the NHS, then you will be right in knowing what your talking about, though given the probably the disparity in the of overall service provision compared with what a typical GP Partnership currently provides I suspect pay will be the least of your concerns/moans then.

    COI- fed up with non-GPs purporting to know or understand what GPs actual do when they don't, but seem to feel free and alright to do so anyway, thus contributing very little to the current GP recruitment and retention crisis debate

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  • The 'you do quite well so pipe down' argument does not address the issues and no offence to all the above 'others' (assuming you are genuine people, if you are trolls then lots of offence) stems from ignorance about the roles of partners and the context of this article - namely the current and ever worsening workforce crisis
    I'm salaried and don't earn near the above salaries - but I appreciate being a partner comes with limitless responsibilities and workload which to my mind fully justify the salary.
    I always find it astonishing how people can judge with such certainty how much others should earn

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