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GP partner pay down by 25% over the past decade

GP partners’ earnings fell for the eighth year in a row, while salaried GPs earned just 9% more than physician associates, new official figures reveal.

The annual GP Earnings and Expenses 2013/14 report by the Health and Social Care Information Centre shows GP partners’ pay fell by 2.2% to £99,800 before tax and employers’ superannuation costs, having decreased in each of the past eight years. In real terms, this represents a decrease of 25% since 2005/06.

The average income for a salaried GP was £54,600, whereas US physician associates have recently been offered a salary of £50,000 to work in the UK.

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

The figures are the first since the imposition of the 2013/14 contract, which phased out MPIG payments, increased QOF thresholds and ended the QOF organisational domain, worth £164m for practices. In the same year, the Government awarded a 1.3% funding uplift, after rejecting the pay review body’s recommendation of 2.29%.

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

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He added: ‘With two-thirds of a practice’s income going on the rising costs of keeping the practice afloat, there is nothing left to develop effective services to meet patients’ growing needs.

‘GPs now have to cope with another year of real-terms cuts, despite working harder than ever before. It’s no wonder young doctors are shunning becoming a GP and practices cannot recruit new GPs.’

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

‘Our “new deal” for GPs will see 5,000 more doctors in general practice and £1bn spent on improving facilities. 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 earlier this year that GP partner take-home pay fell by almost 6% from April to June, despite ministers’ claims that GPs were given a 1% funding rise with the 2015/16 contract.

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