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GPs’ income decreases for seventh successive year in real terms, official figures reveal

Contractor GPs’ income dropped in 2012/13 by 0.9% compared with 2011/12, which is the seventh year in a row it has decreased when inflation is taken into account.

In the annual GP Earnings and Expenses 2012/13 report by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, GPs’ earnings before tax was £102,000 – illustrating a continual drop in GP pay from its peak of £110,000 in 2005/06, the year after new contracting arrangements were introduced.

It revealed that GPs’ expenses also rose by 2.9% to £169,700, with the main outgoings from expenses such as premises and practice staff wages.

These figures are for the year before the contract imposition of 2013/14, which has seen GP income fall even more dramatically.

According to the report, the average income for salaried GPs in the UK was £56,400 2012/13 compared with £56,800 in 2011/12, representing a slight decrease of 0.6%.

The report also concludes that in real terms the average contractor GP income before tax was £120,532 in 2004/05, however this has decreased by around £18,000 over the past seven years.

While income in real terms has declined, total expenses in real terms has increased steadily – from £156,336 in 2004/5 to £169,700 in 2012/13.

In 2012/13, the Government had imposed a pay freeze on all public sector workers, and did not go through the Doctors and Dentists Review Body as a result. It did say the GMS contract would be uplifted by 0.5% to help meet the costs of increased practice expenses.

As part of the 2012/13 contract, a number of changes were made to the QOF including quality and productivity indicators on prescribing replaced with a number of new indicators, while there was a one-year extension of the QOF’s quality and productivity indicators on emergency admissions and referrals, as well as the introduction of two new disease areas to the QOF: osteoporosis and peripheral arterial disease.

Meanwhile, a number of upper and lower thresholds in the QOF were increased and two clinical DES funding alcohol and learning disabilities services were extended for another year.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the GPC, said: ‘GPs have been singularly disadvantaged compared to other comparative NHS healthcare staff, in not receiving the Government’s intended pay awards. 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.

‘Many GP premises are too cramped to provide adequate care with a recent BMA survey showing that four out of ten GPs saying their practice was struggling to provide basic GP services. These problems combined are increasingly affecting the GP workforce, with seven out of ten current GPs now saying they are considering early retirement and hundreds of vacancies being recorded for GP trainee posts this year.’

Please note – this story was edited at 10:00 on 22 September



GP Pay table 2014