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At the heart of general practice since 1960

PMS GPs top of pay league but Welsh practices losing out

GPs in the highest earning

regions take home more than £23,000 a year on average more than their lowest-paid colleagues, according to medical accountants.

Figures from the Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants (Aisma) also reveal a widening pay gap between GMS and PMS practices and between GPs in England, Scotland and Wales.

GPs in England received an average of £89,981 in 2003, up 10 per cent on the previous year.

This compared with £72,768 in Scotland, a rise of 7.6 per cent, and £71,458 in Wales, up 8.1 per cent.

The statistics from 4,500 GPs showed average pay in England was inflated by far higher earnings for PMS

practices.

PMS GPs' pay hit £108,216 in the West Midlands, the best-paid region, and averaged £98,952 across England. Two other regions – Anglia and Oxford and Trent – also saw PMS earnings of more than £100,000.

PMS GPs in Scotland earned £90,335 on average, the lowest of any region. Wales has no PMS practices.

Overall, the pay gap between PMS and GMS practices grew from £14,000 to £17,000.

The highest GMS earnings were in Anglia and Oxfordhire, at an average of £95,540.

Mike Gilbert, founder member of Aisma and medical partner at RMT accountants in Newcastle, said the profits growth was better than he expected as the data included only small amounts of new GMS contract money.

He said the rise in income had been caused by GMS practices with higher list sizes moving to a PMS contract, and an 11 per cent growth in profits at dispensing practices.

He predicted the gap between GMS and PMS would now start to close. 'There's no new money coming into PMS so we'll see a period of stabilisation in 2003/4 and then catch-up of GMS in 2004/5.'

Dr Gareth Hayes, medical secretary of Bro Taf LMC, said the difference between pay in Wales and the rest of the UK was 'unfair and invidious' but predicted it would narrow.

'Enhanced services are working much better in Wales and have been set up much quicker, and as the quality framework is morbidity based that should address the balance,' he added.

By Ian Cameron

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