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Gradual fall in GP income continues

25 September, 2013: The average income before tax of contractor GPs was £103,000 in 2011/12, a drop of 1.1 per cent on 2010/11.

*HSCIC must be quoted as the source of these figures

Figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show a continuation of the gradual fall in contractor GP incomes from their peak at £110,000 in 2005/06, the year after new contracting arrangements were introduced. Contractor GPs form the majority (around 80 per cent) of the GP workforce.

GP Earnings and Expenses 2011/12 provides figures on the earnings and expenses of full and part-time GPs across the UK and covers both their NHS and private income.

Today's report shows that average gross earnings for contractor GPs were £267,900, a 0.5 per cent increase on 2010/11. Contractor GPs pay for expenses such as premises and practice staff wages out of their gross earnings - and these costs showed a greater percentage increase than earnings, rising by 1.6 per cent to £164,900. The proportion of their gross earnings taken up by expenses rose by 0.7 percentage points to 61.6 per cent.

The report also shows that in 2011/12:

  • Around half of contractor GPs (50.3 per cent) had an income before tax of less than £100,000, roughly the same proportion as in 2010/11 when 48.9 per cent fell into this bracket.
  • Two in 100 contractor GPs (2.0 per cent or 670) had an income of more than £200,000 before tax. In 2010/11 720 GPs (2.2 per cent) did so.
  • Income tends to be higher for single-hander GPs; their average income before tax was £116,000. Average incomes before tax was £103,800 for GPs in practices with two to three doctors, £99,500 for GPs in practices with four to five doctors and £103,500 for GPs in practices with six or more doctors.
  • Contractor GPs in England earn on average more than their counterparts in other parts of the UK. Average incomes before tax were £106,100 in England, £93,300 in Wales, £92,800 in Northern Ireland and £88,700 in Scotland.
  • Average income before tax for contractor GPs in 2004/05, when the current contracting arrangements were introduced, was £100,200 in cash terms and £119,300 in real terms.

HSCIC Chair Kingsley Manning said: "This report provides a detailed insight into the income of GPs and their practice expenses, showing that the average income before tax of a contractor GP is £103,000.

The data confirm a continued gradual decline in average GP incomes and will provide a useful contribution to discussions over the remuneration of the family doctors."

The full report can be found here: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/pubs/gpearnex1112

Also published today is a report showing Investment in General Practice 2008/09 to 2012/13 showing total spend on general practice in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. That report is at www.hscic.gov.uk/pubs/investgp0813

ENDS


Notes to editors

1. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was established on April 1 2013 as an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (ENDPB). It is England's trusted data source, delivering high quality information and IT systems to drive better patient services, care and outcomes. Its work includes publishing more than 130 statistical publications annually; providing a range of specialist data services; managing informatics projects and programmes and developing and assuring national systems against appropriate contractual, clinical safety and information standards.

2. The data source for the survey is HM Revenue and Customs' (HMRC) tax self-assessment database, which covers earnings and expenses from all self-employed professional earnings sources for contractor GPs and self-employed and employed professional earnings sources for salaried GPs.

3. The results in the report are estimates based on samples, and therefore each figure has a small margin of error. Differences between groups and sub-groups of GPs, or between 2009/10 and the previous years may reflect sampling error as well as real changes. 'Average' refers to the arithmetic mean throughout. Figures for gross earnings, total expenses and income before tax have been rounded to the nearest £100.

4. Figures for the number of GPs in each income band have been rounded to the nearest 10. When figures are quoted for combined income bands, these figures have also been rounded to the nearest 10. In some cases, this figure may differ from the sum of the rounded numbers for each income band separately presented in the report. This also applies to rounded percentages.

5. Contractor GPs currently work under one of two types of contract - General Medical Services (GMS) contract or a Primary Medical Services (PMS) contract. Figures relating to contractor GPs in this release relate to the earnings and expenses of GPs working under either type of contract.

6. Figures can be provided as an actual difference (cash) and adjusted (real) to remove the effect of inflation over time.

7. The report contains information on contractor GPs - i.e. GP partners - who form the majority of the workforce. The results for contractor GPs have been adjusted to exclude employers' superannuation contributions. The report also contains results for salaried GPs, which have been adjusted to include employees' superannuation contributions, thereby putting results for contractor and salaried GPs on the same basis.

8. For media enquiries please contact media@hscic.gov.uk or 0845 257 6990.

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