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GP partner pay drops by 4.3% in the last six months



Exclusive GP partner pay decreased by 4.3% since April, despite favourable contract announcements in England, Scotland and Wales, a new Pulse survey has revealed.

The survey of 547 GP partners found that around half of GPs said their takings had decreased since April, with only one in ten saying they had experienced a pay increase.

This is despite all UK governments awarding GP contractual uplifts for the year that were intended to lead to 1% rises to take-home pay, including an uplift of 3.3% in England, 2.7% in Wales and £11.6m in Scotland.

But the BMA said that the increased resources secured from governments had ‘yet to meet the increased needs of practices’. And GP respondent comments pointed to increased costs of  indemnity, premises, locums and other staff, as well as reduction in income streams such as local enhanced services.

A GP who saw a 6-10% drop in drawings said: ‘Expenses such as staff salaries and utility bills are going up, meaning practice income is going down in real terms.’

A GP who had experiend a reduction of 1-5% said: ‘LES values have dropped off again. We are doing more work for less money.’

Meanwhile, a GP who saw no change said: ‘We have employed a nurse instead of a doctor to maintain profit.’

Around one in five GPs surveyed reported that they had experienced a 6-10% decrease in partner drawings in the past year, while just over 3% of all GPs said that they had seen partner drawings fall by more than a fifth. Just under a third had seen no change.

A number of GPs told Pulse that the financial pressures they were facing had made them and colleagues consider the future of their practices, and their ability to treat patients.

London GP Dr May Cahill said: ‘We will do our best to remain open to patients as long as we can sustain it, but this is getting increasingly difficult due to premises issues and patient demand.’

Southampton GP Dr Peter Goodall said: ‘We are really close to collapsing. We feel that the CCG has not got much to offer and the LMC has presided over the destruction of general practice as we know it.’

BMA GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey, said: ‘Despite the BMA securing resource increases from the government in the last two years, the reality is that this has still to meet the increasing needs of practices and their patients and leaves many GP practice budgets with acute funding pressures as this survey indicates.

‘GPs and their staff are working harder than ever yet the number of GPs are falling so we need the government to address the continued financial shortfall in GP services that is also limiting the capacity of GPs to deliver more services to patients.’

Survey question in full

What change in drawings have you personally experienced since April?

Increased by:

  • More than 16% – 1%
  • 11-15% – 2%
  • 6-10% – 2%
  • 1-5% – 6%

No change – 32%

Reduced by:

  • 1-5% – 15%
  • 6-10% – 18%
  • 11-15% – 8%
  • More than 16% – 8%

Don’t know – 9%

Total – 100%

The survey was launched on 10 October 2017, collating responses using the SurveyMonkey tool. The 25 questions asked covered a wide range of GP topics, to avoid selection bias on one issue. The survey was advertised to our readers via our website and email newsletter, with a prize draw for a Ninja Coffee Bar as an incentive to complete the survey. A total of 547 GP partners answered this question.