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Independents' Day

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)

  • It is average profit per patient year that matters. In 2005 , we GPs in NI made on AVERAGE £80 for 4 consults ie £20 per consult.
    Today we make AVERAGE £60 for 6 consults ie £10 per consult. This is a 50% pay cut in spite of QOF, DES,LES etc.
    No wonder everyone wants to leave. Would you work anywhere where your salary gets halved in 10 years per item ?
    Besides, there is a shortage of GPs.
    2 Legal firms next door to me made over £2 million on legal aid last year.
    We GPs are being taken to the cleaners and the result is that you simply won't have them.
    The fault lies squarely with the GPC, who are very good at wringing their hands and doing nothing.
    Don't worry, soon you will have no GPs to kick.

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  • There are big differences in Global Sum per patient for neighbouring practices. That's beyond ridiculous, it is obscene and unjust. It shows not only how wrong it was to apply the Carr-Hill formula, but how blitheringly incompetent the GPC was to agree to it.

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  • Funding and staffing disparities are endemic in the NHS. Kings has 125 consultants to 100 beds, a failing hospital in Nottingham has 52. The fact that it only fails because of such disparity no one seems to see.
    They spend £540 per patient in London and £186 in Lancashire. Some GPs make £120 profit per patient year compared to £ 36 for others.
    Sheer madness.
    They cut 300 staff in Mid Staffs and it fell from a 3* to oblivion.
    So, replace the staff. Oh no, enter Francis and 300 recommendations, not staff.
    It is the fault of the BMA. We ahve to get like lorry drivers and pilots - define normal work and normal pay.
    Until we do, we will always have this = extreme workloads, but never enough for patients, papers or politicians.

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  • Time for fee per item contract ala secondary care.As a commenter on these pages has said numerous times "If you pay them they will come".If they carry on in this archaic way"we're all doomed"We need an honest debat on the funding of the NHS before its too late and there is nothing to salvage.Shame our superiors and governors are to spinless/stupid to address the problems.History will judge them.

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  • We do not earn £136 per patient. That includes staff and practice nurse pay, heating, lighting , running costs.
    You might as well David cameron earns 12 million because that is what it costs to run Downing street.
    No. We get £73 in England and £ 60 in NI per patient.

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  • Lots of people missing the AVERAGE idea and Gross / net pay per patients.
    One major factor missed also is the fact I haven't needed the fire brigade, police (directly) or ambulance service but my taxes are being used to have that service for when it is needed. I want a fireman ready and police guarding my house- it ain't going to happen but there is a service ready to respond to my need. I bet they'd say the same thing about payment per call being too low.
    My kids do not trouble the local authorities coffers for schooling either BUT we live in a country with public education health and security services that make all our lives better and I do not begrudge paying my fair share to have those services for all. Public service is valuable beyond payment but when it is allowed to decay to the extent a drs value (take home) is 3 quid for a professional opinion we'll give up. If the government wants us to eat more sh!t they need to make it taste better with more bread or decrease the filling!

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  • NHS Manager | 13 February 2015 8:25am

    '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! '

    don't blame yourself for falling for the same false assumption that a lot of the public believe i.e. paying for nothing. You have been paying for 'health insurance' and risk i.e. you might be ok today , right now but tomorrow you could have a serious illness which may cost many thousands than the £600 or so quid you have paid. The NHS works by pooling money and hoping that not everyone needs care. If you think of car insurance - i've paid insurance for 20 years without a claim - is that money wasted ? It's to cover IF i have to claim.

    I've got no problem if you want to withdraw from the NHS and save and invest your £600 but if you fall ill then you should cover your own costs of healthcare.

    that's the problem the public want their cake but want someone else to pay for it.

    now do you understand how it works ?

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  • the other issue that bothers joe public is access

    if you want timely access for a plumber, accountant, lawyer, mechanic etc. you have to book in advance - it is very rare to get same day access AND they will charge for work undertaken by time and activity.

    if it is an emergency call expect to PAY unless you have a cover plan - usually plans are not unlimited.

    we can argue all day if the average is £7.50 or £200 per patient but no professional service provides UNLIMITED UNCAPPED access for that amount. most will have 'fair use' or throw in extra charges.

    i can not be in two places at once so i'm either seeing patients in surgery, visits, or doing paperwork - everyone wants a slice of my time. I can not do any more safely. so if the public wants better access then either reduce demand or increase supply both are going to cost.

    you can innovate until the cows come home but it isn't going to make a significant saving - the bottom line is if you get what you pay for.

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  • 'I would like to point out that I haven't seen my GP for about 5 years' This is great news but should you have the misfortune to become seriously ill you could easily find yourself seeing your GP monthly for the next 5 years - this is the principle behind insurance! It's not money for nothing, if your GP is not seeing you they will be seeing those who are currently unwell until it is your turn. £136/y (less running costs) is an absurdly low amount that is cheaper than hamster insurance

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  • Anonymous | Sessional/Locum GP | 13 February 2015 1:46pm

    £136/y (less running costs) is an absurdly low amount that is cheaper than hamster insurance

    yes ... but some dailymail / guardian reader is going to say 'we get to see the vet when we want and they are more accessible than GPs etc' ... sigh.

    the bottom line - the individual is being protected by the true cost of their lifetime healthcare cost as everybody contributes. it works when only a few need the resource. once we get to a point when there is too much demand the system will fail as it is doing now. but you do not say to the vet 'please can you cut your pay so i can pay less!'. Market forces dictate the price point. If individuals were not protected from the true cost of their lifetime healthcare then prices will rocket (eg USA). Doctors will get very rich and the same daily mail / guardian readers will now be moaning that their individual health costs are too much.

    we should let the public decide - properly fund the NHS or pay for your individual health costs but don't keep blaming the man in the middle i.e. doctors.

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