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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)

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

    There you have it folks... don't worry I'm sure everything be alright in the end... after all we have the GPC on the case!

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  • I am more shocked by the salaried doctor income than that of parters to be honest.
    Why would anyone be a salaried GP when a physicians assistant will be paid much the same?
    Ex GP partner.

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  • anonymous 10:17, you have hit the nail on the head!!

    - anonymous salaried!

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  • Add to this the massive increase in pension costs, reduced benefits from the pension scheme, increase pension age to 68 and hike in indemnity costs......

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  • Is the salaried income for full time salaried work? When I looked at these figures before the income was based on actual salaried doctors' income which did not take account of part time work. Whereas the partner income was scaled up to FTE. We need to be able to compare like with like. Has anyone done this?

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  • We also need to remind ourselves that primary care services deliver 92% of face to face activity day on day
    Mental health services deliver a proportion of the 8% left.
    Two of the most financially stretched, and based on population need, required elements of the health service deliver the majority of population Helath services.
    Take those away and what is left......
    Hhmmmm

    The population seeks its services based on need and if you were commissioning the whole service based on that the design and relative funding would look very different.

    Also looking at GPs salaries is interesting but not the relevant part of the equation. What is relevant is what is left in the budget after all salaries are paid for a primary care team. This remaining budget is what allows you to fund the day to day and extra stuff that is needed to deliver good primary care. As the article says with rising costs and diminishing profits after costs primary care is really struggling to deliver everything that is expected of it.

    Either raise the budget (not necessarily salaries) for primary care or reduce the expectations.... The choice is yours.

    Oh and at the same time start to prove again that primary care in the UK is a good place to be.. There is nothing like it on this planet so don't take it apart.

    The NHS has bled enough. Let's have some honest debate and solutions for a NHS 2.0
    It's not all bad and we need to start looking at the good stuff and the solutions that follow.

    P:)

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  • Bob Hodges

    The salaried figure undoubtedly is based on a lower WTE than the partner figure so is not comparable.

    If it could be expressed as income 'per hour', I doubt there would be much discernible difference.

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  • GP Partners are the equivalent of company directors in the business sector.

    As income faells the director tends to reduce the salary it offers to new employees or halt pay rises for existing employees rather than reduce their own salaries. The directors are often described as greedy, but they receive their pay as they take the risk.

    The NHS is operating at a huge deficit so there isn't going to an injection of cash to cure this. Surely it is the GP Partners who must answer why salaried GP's are paid so much less than them. This obviously depends on whether this article is comparing like for like. Comments suggest not.

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  • 11:59 am

    Completely misinformation
    As partners we are annually raising our staff wages as we value them highly
    At the same time Partner pay is reducing year on year to the point practices are losing partners and eventually facing closure

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  • Salaried GPs are paid (on average) between £8000 and £10000 per session per year. If (as most partners do) one equates 8 sessions a week to full-time, then the WTE equivalent earnings for a salaried GP are between £64,000 and £80,000 - far more than the quoted figure in this article.

    Add to this the fact that partners often pay the indemnity costs of their salaried colleagues, and it's not really such a bad deal, with no management responsibility and a 'guaranteed' income.

    On the flip side, salaried GPs are not self-employed, so lose more to the taxman.

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