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Salaried GPs earn little more than physician associates, official figures reveal

GP partners’ earnings dropped for the eight year in a row in 2013/14, with salaried GPs earning £54,600 a year, only 9% more than physician associates, official figures released today have revealed.

In the annual GP Earnings and Expenses 2013/14 report by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, combined partner and salaried GPs’ earnings before tax was £90,200, a drop of 2.9% on 2012/13 levels.  

GP partners’ pay fell by 2.2% to £99,800 before employers’ superannuation costs were taken into account, having decreased every year since a peak of £110,000 in 2005/06, the year after new contracting arrangements were introduced.

The average income for a salaried GP was £54,600 - only 9% more than the £50,000 being offered to physician associates with two years’ training.

GP leaders said it was ‘no wonder’ young doctors were shunning general practice.

The gross earnings for combined GMP and PMS partners actually increased by 0.7%, to £273,600.

However, this was more than offset by a 2.4% rise in the cost of expenses, to £173,800.

The figures are the first since the imposition of the 2013/14 contract, which phased out MPIG payments, increased QOF thresholds and discontinued the QOF organisational domain, worth £164m for practices.

In the same year, the Government awarded a 1.3% funding uplift, after health secretary Jeremy Hunt rejected the recommendation from the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) for a 2.29% uplift.

According to the report, the average income for salaried GPs in the UK was £54,600 in 2013/14 compared with £56,400 in 2012/13, representing a decrease of 3.3%.

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the GPC, said the figures ‘provide yet more evidence of the growing financial pressures faced by general practice’.

He added: ‘With two thirds of a practice’s income being used on the basics of keeping a practice afloat, including paying for rising costs for utilities, building upkeep and vital staff such as receptionists and nurses, there is nothing left to develop effective patient services that meet patient’s growing needs.

‘The decline in average GP pay by a further 3% means that GP now have had to cope with a fourth successive year of real term cuts, leading to an overall 20% cut since 2004/5 despite working harder than ever before to deliver rising numbers of appointment. It’s no wonder young doctors are shunning becoming a GP and practices cannot recruit new GPs as a result.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: ‘GPs are the bedrock of our health service and we want them to be properly rewarded for their work. The average GP earns almost £100,000 and they’re free to decide how money should be invested in their services.

‘Our New Deal for GPs will see 5,000 more doctors in general practice and £1bn spent on improving facilities across the country. On top of this we’re backing the NHS’s own plan for the health service with an extra £8bn a year by 2020 — this plan sees more investment in primary care.”

Pulse revealed this year that GP partner take-home pay declined by almost 6% from April to June, despite Government claims that GPs were given an uplift translating to a 1% funding rise with the 2015/16 contract.

Please note, the article was amended at 15:05 on 11 September 2015. The original said ‘GP partners’ pay fell by 1.4% to £96,000’. However, this was referring to GMS partners only. The real figures, incorporating both PMS and GMS partners, was £99,800 - a fall of 2.2%.

Readers' comments (29)

  • Agree with 1.24pm, but also note that salaried GPs get their employer's part of their pension contribution paid also, unlike GP partners.
    I'm sure that must offset any tax advantages a partner may have from their self-employed status.
    If salaried GPs are really selling themselves that cheaply, there most definitely isn't a market for Physician's Assistants - why employ a PA when you get the full package for so little extra?
    I think the bottom line is this profession cannot take many more years of contracting income without collapse.

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  • I agree with 1:24 that the figure in the article is likely to represent nothing as it is a mix of full and part time salaried GPs and you are comparing it to a salary of a full time physicians assistant.

    I still think that PAs are getting too much/ salaried doctors are not getting enough ---- but the matchup is 50k V 75k.

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  • PA are having their salary set by NHSE at present,

    remember that they will ultimately become the responsibility of partners to pay.
    I think that their realistic partnership salaries will reduce to around 20-30k full time.
    I am not sure if most PA's recognise this.
    I hope they do.

    - anonymous salaried!

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  • Right, I am off.....setting up dog grooming service, I'll be company director.....and, wait for it, report NAI to RSPB

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  • Vinci Ho

    GPs are the bedrock of our health service and we want them to be properly rewarded for their work. The average GP earns almost £100,000 and they’re free to decide how money should be invested in their services.......

    I just love these Inglorious Bas***ds( watched the film again last night, brilliant stuff!) from Ministry of Truth. They are more obidient to their masters than the guard dog of my next door neighbour. Disguised disposition of concept (of GP funding) and pass the buck of sh** to us. You guys are my heroes!!!

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  • if you take in to account the extra 15% partners pay u=in employee pension compared to salaried and I believe emploiyers NI then there is probably very little difference between salaried and partner pay esp as the salaried amount quoted is prob not for full time.

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  • Crap. A former partner till I turned 50, I have been salaried for 2,5 years, doing eight sessions for 85k plus MDU, which if you add in my employers pension probably equates to about 105k cost to my partner employers. Anyone working full time for 50 odd grand in this GP landscape is either lying or mad.

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  • The figure for salaried GP is highly likely an average of total salary paid, and reflects part time working bringing the average down.

    They are usually paid 8 to 10 thousand per session but have NI employers cost and often indemnity paid on top.

    They deserve more, but where costs are higher, and payments coming in slashed, you cant afford to pay more, so that is why so many younger GPs locum.

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  • People should have a look at the commons briefing paper:

    Partner incomes in real terms are circa 20% less than 2004.

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  • Note the partners income has employers superann costs, plus MDO plus sickness and locum insurance taken off, making it more like £65k

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