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GP partner pay drops by 4.3% in the last six months

Exclusive GP partner pay decreased by 4.3% since April, despite favourable contract announcements in England, Scotland and Wales, a new Pulse survey has revealed.

The survey of 547 GP partners found that around half of GPs said their takings had decreased since April, with only one in ten saying they had experienced a pay increase.

This is despite all UK governments awarding GP contractual uplifts for the year that were intended to lead to 1% rises to take-home pay, including an uplift of 3.3% in England, 2.7% in Wales and £11.6m in Scotland.

But the BMA said that the increased resources secured from governments had 'yet to meet the increased needs of practices'. And GP respondent comments pointed to increased costs of  indemnity, premises, locums and other staff, as well as reduction in income streams such as local enhanced services.

A GP who saw a 6-10% drop in drawings said: 'Expenses such as staff salaries and utility bills are going up, meaning practice income is going down in real terms.'

A GP who had experiend a reduction of 1-5% said: 'LES values have dropped off again. We are doing more work for less money.'

Meanwhile, a GP who saw no change said: 'We have employed a nurse instead of a doctor to maintain profit.'

Around one in five GPs surveyed reported that they had experienced a 6-10% decrease in partner drawings in the past year, while just over 3% of all GPs said that they had seen partner drawings fall by more than a fifth. Just under a third had seen no change.

A number of GPs told Pulse that the financial pressures they were facing had made them and colleagues consider the future of their practices, and their ability to treat patients.

London GP Dr May Cahill said: ‘We will do our best to remain open to patients as long as we can sustain it, but this is getting increasingly difficult due to premises issues and patient demand.’

Southampton GP Dr Peter Goodall said: 'We are really close to collapsing. We feel that the CCG has not got much to offer and the LMC has presided over the destruction of general practice as we know it.'

BMA GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey, said: 'Despite the BMA securing resource increases from the government in the last two years, the reality is that this has still to meet the increasing needs of practices and their patients and leaves many GP practice budgets with acute funding pressures as this survey indicates.

'GPs and their staff are working harder than ever yet the number of GPs are falling so we need the government to address the continued financial shortfall in GP services that is also limiting the capacity of GPs to deliver more services to patients.'

Survey question in full

What change in drawings have you personally experienced since April?

Increased by:

  • More than 16% - 1%
  • 11-15% - 2%
  • 6-10% - 2%
  • 1-5% - 6%

No change - 32%

Reduced by:

  • 1-5% - 15%
  • 6-10% - 18%
  • 11-15% - 8%
  • More than 16% - 8%

Don't know - 9%

Total - 100%

The survey was launched on 10 October 2017, collating responses using the SurveyMonkey tool. The 25 questions asked covered a wide range of GP topics, to avoid selection bias on one issue. The survey was advertised to our readers via our website and email newsletter, with a prize draw for a Ninja Coffee Bar as an incentive to complete the survey. A total of 547 GP partners answered this question.

Readers' comments (19)

  • Is this reduction controlling for the fact that partners are also becoming more part-time so you would expect to see a drop in earnings per GP (NHS Digital statistics)?

    Fairly meaningless stat otherwise.

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  • End of the line?

    GP'S are dedicated professionals who care for their patients
    many are not doing it for money
    This is great except that altruistic goodwil is being well and truly abused adn there is no appreciation
    Like OOH it will be appreciated only when it is lost... absence makes the heart grow fonder .. work to rule for a while

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  • End of the line?

    p.s. all capitals is considered shouting
    relax and retire/ emigrate / reduce workload
    as you sow so ... shall you reap
    in other professions or companies
    the executives usually ring fence their salary
    any shortfall is then passed to the service

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  • AlanAlmond

    I don’t expect a certain Dr Jefferies and partners are suffering such hardship. So great to see some of our colleagues doing so well looking after the ‘so ill I had to open my Babylon app’ iPhone posie. It’s great at least these folk have well healed Drs to attend to their needs. Wonderful

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  • Guys-Wake up,we had it coming to us!

    if my local electrician who lives 15 minutes from me charges me £70 to make a simple electrical connection in 15 minutes, i have to see 6 patients with 6 separate clinical risks to manage in one hour and get paid similar amount, then something wasn't right for many years!

    In fact i am surprised that you guys are surprised at this "new" News above!

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  • It feels like a sinking ship !!
    After 34 years for the last 6 months I am working 16 hours a week just seeing patients
    I love it and have a reasonable renumeration
    What do I miss about the practice ?
    Only the patients nothing else.
    I have enough time to review, reflect, train
    In order for the system to change should consider resigning contracts more often and dumping the work we are not trained for . For things to change we need to change and take control of our working lives
    BMA and RCGP please listen and help!,
    We are not performing monkeys and have lost much of our automony. Mostly we like. Helping patients and dislike have to jump through pointless hoops.

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  • A comment from a very senior university administrator: "GPs earn too much;over £100k. They don't work harder than the rest of us.Why should they earn more than a train driver".With Corbynistas in the ascendency, don't plan on pay rises anytime soon.

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  • Sadly this is the zeitgeist so General Practice will cease to exist. There will be a slow realisation that it was actually good value for the money and then the wheel will be reinvented but cost substantially more.

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