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GPs go forth

GP partners see their drawings drop by 4% this year

Exclusive GP partners saw their pay drop by an average of 4% in the first six months of the financial year, despite an increase in the global sum, Pulse can reveal.

The Pulse survey of 644 GP partners found that 46% said they had a pay decrease between April and October, while only 8% said their pay had increased in that time. 

Close to one in ten GP partners surveyed saying that their pay had fallen by more than 10% since last April.

There are no official figures giving an accurate picture of GP pay. NHS Digital releases figures, but they are a year behind and fail to take into account the amount of time GPs work and any private work they are taken .

GPs in England were promised a 1% pay increase in the 2016/17 contract, as part of a 3.2% funding uplift - designed to meet rising expenses facing practices such as CQC fees, indemnity fees, national insurance, employer superannuation increases and running expenses.

At the time, accountants said the uplift could see ‘first increase in earnings for several years’.

But respondents to the survey said that the uplift was not enough to cover the increasing costs, while others pointed to funding cuts in other areas - including PMS and MPIG cuts.

Dr Ismat Nasiruddin, a GP principal from London said: ‘As a full time GP [I’ve seen a] a £15,000 a year drop in income over the past two years - to sustain my normal income I have to top up with private work.

’It’s almost as if I’m doing an extra job to supplement the NHS shortfall. I’ve been in medicine since 1995 and a GP for 11 and am working harder and longer than ever. I feel deflated by not being able to offer my patients the service we used to; no appointment availability, no time, poor follow up - it’s just impossible.’ 

Dr Claudia Shand, a GP partner in Hampshire said: ‘Our practice profits have been falling annually over the past few years due to both reducing funding (we are a PMS practice) and increasing costs. Increasing costs are partly due to increasing practice nurse hours and taking on an extra doctor to try and alleviate the workload.’

Other GPs said that they have opted for a cut in income to reduce workload.

North Tyneside GP partner Dr Karen Buchanan said: ‘Working in a new practice because the workload in my last practice was unmanageable and unsafe. I now work in a rural practice where the care is excellent but the future very uncertain.The price I pay for giving safe care and retaining some sanity, at least for now, is a significant reduction in income.’

GP leaders said that working conditions for GPs were becoming increasingly unsafe and called on the Government to make a sustained investment into the profession to halt the crisis.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the GPC, said: ’The Government has to recognise that we cannot continue to stagger on with a workforce that is working beyond safe limits and is shrinking as more GPs opt to leave medicine.

’We need politicians to act on their promises and deliver a period of sustained, long term investment in general practice that allows patients to receive safe, quality care. The BMA has called for safe working limits for all GPs as part of its Urgent Prescription for General Practice and has put forward proposals to NHS England to enable this.’

Survey results in full

What change in drawings have you personally experienced since April?

PAYNumber of respondentsPercentage
More than 20% 9 1.40
16-20% 6 0.93
11-15% 6 0.93
6-10% 12 1.86
1-5% 20 3.11
No change 216 33.54
-1-5% 90 13.98
-6-10% 100 15.53
-11-15% 51 7.92
-16-20% 28 4.35
-more than 20% 27 4.19
Don’t know 79 12.27
Total 644  

The survey was launched on 9 November 2016, collating responses using the SurveyMonkey tool. The 29 questions covered a wide range of GP topics, to avoid selection bias on one issue. A total of 644 GP partners and principals answered the question above.

Readers' comments (10)

  • 1% increase, when the national average was near 2.4% increase and medical inflation must be 4+%.We are still serving a penance Mr Hunt,but soon there wont be enough GPs to bother .I vote we go the NI route.Give us a vote Chand .If your not careful you will lose BMA member in torrents.I give you until my next renewal notice matey!

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  • I earn less than my salaried GP and a lot less than a locum.
    As senior partner, I take all the responsibility and work like a machine.
    How many jobs do you know whereby the MORE RESPONSIBILITY YOU TAKE, THE LESS MONEY YOU EARN.


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  • 4% - what about deprived areas where the fall is 15% with uplifts being eroded by list size squeezing weighted sizes by 200 patients when drop in list size is only by 7 patients. Corruption,lack of transparency and deal making is the name of the game. Even Open Exeter statements are being ignored and arbitrary rules made in local areas by NHSE and Capita - Liquidate NHSE and half of NHS troubles will be over in one day. GPs are not allowed to talk to HSCIC regarding these matters - can anything be more translucent?

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  • All part of the plan. NHSE want all GPs to hand back their GMS / PMS contracts and become salaried...eventually working for Virgin, Care UK....

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  • Tony-salaried for it.

    If I was ill, I would simply go off sick. Not worry about CQC etc and work to rule.
    And if Virgin did not like it-there is NOTHING they could forces you see.

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  • Or, put another way, 296 of 644 GPs surveyed (46%) reported a pay cut in the last year.

    If you include the "no change" lot (i.e a real terms pay cut) this figure rises to 512/644 (80%).

    80% of us are earning less year-on-year.

    Yet still we rage at the sky and wish it was different, but do nothing.
    Our leaders wring their hands and furrow their brows, and plead for crumbs from the table. Humiliating.

    This is collective insanity. Anyone who saw our 3 minutes of BBC Question Time debate last night surely knows by now all hope is lost. The sooner NI starts to topple dominos, the better.

    The public and their elected servants have slowly suffocated us. They must now reap the consequences.

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  • Last man standing,

    Leave! Whos stopping you? The salaried and locums you mentioned were partners once. They make more money than you cause they saw the very large writing on the wall. Is it too painful to stop being a "senior" GP partner? Drop your ego just a bit and your life will transform no end.

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  • I really should read these articles more slowly. I now see my first line is redundant. Its the rage, you know. Blinds you.

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  • I have resigned and we are surrendering the GMS contract
    I will work a third of the time for more net pay
    Looking forward to escaping

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  • Of course this latest information is certainly going to attract more into general practice!! Not!! A shrinking full-time workforce and less money!! How attractive!! And I proudly still wear my gold medal awarded for cynicism at the last Olympic Games!!

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