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GP earnings drop for seventh year in a row

Pre-tax GP income fell to an average of £102,000 in 2012/13 due to soaring expenses levels, the latest official NHS figures show. Earnings dropped by 0.9% compared with 2011/12 – the seventh consecutive annual fall when inflation is taken into account.

Average GP partner income before tax peaked at £129,994 in the UK after the introduction of the 2004 contract, but has since declined by almost 22% in real terms.

The GPC said the figures demonstrated continuing ‘inadequate investment’ in general practice, with rising expenses swallowing up GP funding.

GP earnings graphic-online

The figures, published last month by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, are the most up-to-date record of gross earnings before pension contributions are deducted.

In the GP funding deal for 2012/13, NHS Employers said GP funding in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland should be uplifted by 0.5% to help meet increased practice expenses and to ‘put a strong emphasis on improved patient care’.

But the HSCIC figures show income dropped while expenses rose by 2.9%, with the expenses-to-earnings ratio rising by 0.9 percentage points to 62.5%.

English GP partners earned the most at £105,100 before tax, compared with £88,800 in Scotland, £91,000 in Wales and £92,200 in Northern Ireland.

Salaried GP pay was not hit as hard, with average income before tax decreasing by 0.6% between 2011/12 and 2012/13, from £56,800 to £56,400.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the figures showed GPs had been ‘singularly disadvantaged’ when considered alongside other comparative NHS healthcare staff.

He said: ‘This highlights the Government’s continued inadequate investment in general practice, which is not keeping up with the rising expenses of running a GP practice to meet the increasing volumes of care GPs provide.’