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GP pay 'more than doubles in past 20 years'

GP pay has more than doubled in real terms in the past 20 years, figures released today show.

The statistics from the Information Centre show GPs earned on average £25,254 a year in 1985/6, equivalent to £51,512 at today's prices.

GP pay for NHS and non-NHS work averaged £110,004 in 2005/6 according to the statistics, based on GP accounts for the year assessed by the Technical Steering Committee.

However, the figures revealed huge differences in earnings between different groups of GPs.

Average pay for all salaried GPs, including those working part time, was just £46,905.

Only 3% of GPs had a net profit of over £200,000, whereas 44 per cent earned less than £100,000.

GPs aged 50 to 59 were predictably the highest earners, averaging £117,820 in 2005/6.

Rural practices had higher earnings, expenses and net profit than their urban or suburban counterparts, averaging profits of £116,987 compared with £108,455 for urban practices.

The figures showed that the larger the practice, the lower average profits per partner.

Single-handed GP partners had the highest net profit at £132,010, with GPs working with six or more partners the lowest net profit at £105,769.

41180514For contracted GPMS GPs in the UK average gross turnover was £245,020 (an increase of 6.5% since 2004/5). Average expenses were £135,016 (an increase of 3.9% since 2004/5).

The expenses to earnings ratio for 2005/6 was 55.1%, a fall of 1.4 percentage points from 2004/05 expenses to earnings ratio of 56.5%, which the Information Centre said reflected the higher increase in overall profit compared to expenses over this period.

PMS net profit was 13.1% higher than GMS net profit.

Average net profit was £113,614 in England (up 9.7% on 2004/5), £98,656 in Northern Ireland (+8.2%), £90,619 in Scotland (+9.6%) and £102,194 in Wales (+11.6%).

GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman said two years of zero pay awards with not even an inflation increase to cover the costs of paying staff and expenses in a practice had left most GPs worse off than they were in 2005-06.

'These are historical figures relating to the planned increase in pay for GPs under the new contract. In recognition of the way family doctors' pay had fallen behind in the years leading up to the new contract, the government negotiated a system in which pay would rise significantly in the contract's second year. This is shown in the 05/06 figures.

'Since then GPs have been singled out and their pay has been frozen with not even a cost of living increase in resources for their practice,' said Dr Buckman.

Dr Buckman was also quick to downplay the massively lower earnings of salaried GPs.

'Many of the salaried doctors work part time, perhaps because of family commitments, and today's figures for salaried GPs reflect an average figure which does not separate out full-time and part time earnings. All the doctors patients see in their surgeries are fully qualified general practitioners.'

PMS vs GMS, dispensing vs non-dispensing

• PMS net profit was 13.1% higher than GMS net profit
- £120,272 compared to £106,312

• Average net profit among GMS GPs was:
- £102,648 for non-dispensing GPs (+11.4%)
- £124,891 for dispensing GPs (+6.7%)

• Average net profit among PMS GPs was:
- £118,109 for non-dispensing GPs (+9.9%).
- £134,268 for dispensing GPs (+5.2%)

• Average net profit among GPMS GPs was:
- £106,681 for non-dispensing GPs (+10.4%).
- £127,061 for dispensing GPs (+6.3%).

Accounts GMS earnings1

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