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Rise of 2.7% in GP income

Average GP income before tax of £92,500, figures show

Adrian O'Dowd

Thursday, 30 August 2018

The average income before tax of GPs (combining all types of GP) rose by 2.7% in 2016-17 compared to the previous year, according to new official figures published today by NHS Digital.

The BMA welcomed the fact that GPs were earning more but said that they were spread more thinly and were having to take on additional work and working longer hours due to workforce shortages.

NHS Digital’s GP Earnings and Expenses Estimates – 2016-17 report presents earnings and expenses information for full and part-time GPs working in the UK as either a contractor or salaried GP under a General Medical Services (GMS) or Personal Medical Services (PMS) contract and covers both their NHS and private income.

The figures show that the average income before tax for combined GPs (contractor and salaried) in either a GMS or a PMS practice in the UK was £92,500 – a rise from £90,100 in 2015-16.

GP partners saw their pay increase by 4.1% to an average £105,500 across the UK from 2015-16 to 2016-17, while salaried GPs had a 1.7% increase over the same period to an average of £56,800.

When considered by contract type, contractor GPs working under a GMS contract had an average income before tax of £103,700 – an increase of 4.2% since 2015-16.

This compares to £111,500 for those working under a PMS contract, whose taxable income increased by 5.2%.

GP income increased the most in England compared to the rest of the UK by 3% to £93,700 across all contractor and salaried GPs, while in Scotland and Wales, average income rose by almost 2% (to £87,300 and £89,400 respectively) and in Northern Ireland, income fell across all GPs by 1.3% to £87,700 in 2016-17.

Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee chair, said: “After a decade during which GP pay fell by 20%, something that has had a real impact on GP recruitment, retention and morale, at long last GPs may be seeing an end to repeated pay cuts.

“However, these figures need to be treated with caution as while earnings may have risen, over the same time frame we have seen the workforce crisis deepen, with the number of full-time equivalent GPs in England falling by more than 2%, and partners by more than 4%.

“GPs are therefore spreading themselves more thinly. With partners unable to hire more doctors, they themselves are taking on additional work, are forced to work longer hours and are placing further pressure on themselves to deliver care to patients amid mounting demand.”

It was likely, he added, that the falling workforce accounted for a significant proportion of the apparent rise in an average partner’s salary, as he said: “Funding allocated to them to meet the needs of their patients is shared between fewer doctors.

“GP partners, who are highly-skilled clinicians providing person-centred care embedded within communities, are also small business owners, managing increasingly burdensome bureaucracy and the soaring cost of indemnity, and dealing with issues with practice premises.

“However, this increase in payments does not compensate for this working environment that is often proving unsustainable.

"Furthermore, with an 8.7% increase in practice expenses, leading to an expenses to earnings ratio reaching a record high, it is clear that GPs are under huge pressure to cope with the rising costs of running a practice.”

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