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Average GP practice receives £136 per patient annually - less than a Sky TV subscription

The total funding given to each individual practice has been published for the first time by the Government today, revealing that the average practice received funding worth £136 per registered patient in 2013/14.

But this amount conceals massive variation between practices and illustrates that annual funding for unlimited access to GP practices is less than an annual Sky TV subscription, which costs £238 per year.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre today revealed that 13% of the total funding came from QOF, while 8% came from premises payments and 8% came from enhanced services.

The publishing of individual practice funding was included in the 2014/15 contract at the behest of the Government in order to improve transparency.

The GPC, which has reluctantly agreed to the publication, has warned it will not be useful or informative to patients. Opponents have also argued that it is a breach of GPs’ privacy.

Proponents of the publication, agreed in principle under the 2014/15 GMS contract, have argued that publishing individual pay would be helpful for GPs to prove a decline in net income after pension contributions and medical indemnity cover.

Practices will be required to publish these figures on their website by April 2016 under the new GP contract deal.

But NHS England said that this was an ‘interim solution’ before NHS England pushes ahead with ‘publishing individual GP net earnings in 2016/17’.

The first publication of these figures revealed that APMS practices received £192.85 per patient, compared with £140.52 for PMS practices and £131.45 for GMS practices.

One APMS practice - the Accrington Victoria Health Access Centre in Lancashire - received £2,002 per patient.

It also shows huge variation between different areas, with practices in Greater Manchester receiving £110.60 per average weighted patient, compared with £166.05 in East Anglia.

However, according to the figures, some practices received as little as £25 over the year, calling into question the usefullness of the figures.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the GPC, said: ‘These figures demonstrate that GP services are delivering comprehensive care for a whole year at a cost of £136 per person. This funds unlimited access to GP appointments - now more than 6 visits per year on average - as well as home visits and care for housebound vulnerable patients, immunisation programmes, cervical screening, chronic disease management and many other services.

‘However, GP services are finding it increasingly difficult to make this funding stretch to meet the demands that are now being placed on them. Many GP practices are struggling to cope with the growing needs of their aging populations on shrinking resources that is made worse by staff shortages and the wider transfer of more unresourced work from hospitals into the community.  Politicians and NHS managers now need to focus their energy on ensuring overstretched and underfunded GP services get the resources they need to deliver enough appointments and services to their patients.’

On the regional differences, Dr Richard West, chair of the Dispensing Doctors’ Association, said: ‘It’s important to understand that the variation in weighted payments between urban and rural areas is because many rural practices are also receiving reimbursement for the costs of the drugs they are permitted to dispense to their patients. It is not because rural practices receive better funding to provide primary medical services.’

What £136 a year can’t get you

- A Sky subscription on the Original (cheapest) bundle: £17.20 per month = £206.40 per year.

- The rise in the price of a train season ticket from Guildford to London (not the ticket - just the rise in the cost of the ticket) = £144 this year.

- A 4G phone subscription with a free phone: cheapest one available with a free phone is £12.50 per month = £150 per year.

- A 51g Mars bar every day: 60p x 365 days = £219 per year.

- A subscription to the Observer every week = £150.80 per year.

An average bottle of wine every two weeks = £208.52 per year.

A trip to the cinema every fortnight = £169.78 per year.

A haircut every month = £179.40 per year. 

Read here how much each practice gets funded


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Readers' comments (57)

  • BUT £136 includes wages of staff, running costs etc.
    PROFIT per PATIENT in NI is £ 60 ie if you had 2000 patients you get £ 120000.
    Average Consultation is 6.4. % paper work is 40%.
    So, 60 divided by 6 = £10. Factor in 40% paperwork and you get £ 6 per consult.
    Work it the other way if you wish.
    £6x 40 consultations per day = £ 240.
    Add 40% for paperwork [£160]= £400 per day.
    400 x 20 days/month =8000 x 12 months = £ 96000.
    So, profit per consult is £6.
    Take home pay per consult is £3.00

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  • So disingenuous!

    Notice how it is impossible to directly compare APMS practices. Because this would show embarrassingly high £ / patient.

    Notice how the average £ / patient, admittedly low, is a GROSS payment. This is based on Total Payments, not Total Payments minus discount. That means that out of the quoted £ / patient GPs have to pay for their premises and staff, and their OOH deduction, LMC levies, and pension contributions. Then they have to pay other business expenses, e.g. professional indemnity, and finally their employee superann and income tax.

    Not much left after that lot, perhaps £20-30 per patient? Hence the computation of around £4 (net) per consultation

    But even if we take the £136 as the GROSS 'Client pays' figure, its remarkable what is offered for £2.60 per patient per week!

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  • Una Coales. Retired NHS GP.

    You'd better have a look at the HSIC spreadsheet of 8000 surgeries (Pulse link how much each practice gets funded). I couldn't open on my ipad but it opened on my android. Some were given only £15/pt/year to fail and close their doors while another was given £1700/pt/year for 2,900 patients to receive £4 million after expenses! Seeing is believing!

    Not all surgeries are equal...

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  • So it comes to this...the largest figure it is possible to create in terms of funding per patient. Not a lot of press coverage despite these figures clearly being ripe for propaganda purposes and completely misleading.

    Where is the column for the funding to actually do what the population think we are paid for?... Not the extras of which the population are oblivious. Those are..... Extra!
    Shall we call it funding per patient to visit as many times as they like/year?... It will be a lot less than £135.

    This + CQC risk ratings + PHE oops we forgot to tell you all the flu jab is doing nothing for your patients this year = feeling of being ruled by innumerate fools.


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  • congrats to whoever is responsible for negotiating the contract !

    there is no way this will make mainstream news as the public are not prepared to believe it that GPs get £136 (on average) a year to look after them.

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  • the simple fact is the public do not understand that the nhs works as a giant ponzi insurance scheme - fine when there are few pulling money out but heading towards collapse when everyone wants a piece of the pie ... and an awful lot of people want a piece.

    reading the comments in the popular 'press' leads to a conclusion that the public don't have a clue. there are many who will feel that £136 is poor value as they either don't use the service (i.e. young and healthy) or when they want to use the service they can't get access (i.e. waiting days/weeks/months to see their gp). those members of the public who we see weekly (i.e. 52 times in a year for £136) still moan as they can't get there boob job / fertility treatment or whatever when they want it.

    it will be better for everyone to push the debate about funding the nhs back to the public - do they want to opt out of funding the nhs and take care of their own health costs or are they going to properly fund the nhs so they can get the service they want? but i'm not going to subsidise the nhs by further cutting my pay - i'm already seeing 60 patients a day under greater paperwork and higher risk. It is time the true cost of healthcare is passed on either to the state or to the individual.

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  • i'm sorry but i think doctors in general are vastly underpaid compared to other professions.

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  • Call to GPC - get this in the national press. Now.

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  • I totally agree that GP are underpaid however I would like to point out that I haven't seen my GP for about 5 years therefore based on these figures he's received £680 for doing absolutely nothing!
    This is essentially the same argument that some of you are making when comparing the amount the private sector received for actually seeing a patient. They don't get anything for not seeing a patient therefore that needs to be factored in to the calculation.
    Forgive me if I've missed it but surely the only truly comparable measure would be to break down the total funding by consultation so that apples are being compared with apples?

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  • @NHS manager 8.25
    I am afraid you have missed the point! You sound like a very reasonable person but unfortunately you don't seem to understand.
    This funding is to cover all the patients on the list, some of which never come to see us, others are in almost every day. Just as those who do not come in need to be taken into account, so do those who come in all the time.
    The figure if 6 consultations per year us an AVERAGE and therefore does take both of these into account.
    For some people we are doing 100-200 consults a year for £136. Ie less than £1 per consult.

    A payment per consult would be an option, in which case some patients would cost an enormous amount and others would cost nothing.

    However, the current system is based on a flat payment per year for an AVERAGE number if consults. Incupidentally, the average number if consults per year has doubled in the last 5 years with no increase in the flat fee. How many organisations could double their activity for the same income?

    We have reached the end if the road. There is no more to give.

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