Research by GP’s specialist practice management website Medeconomics found that 43% of GPs reported a drop in income from non-NHS work in the last year, while just 6% said it had risen.
The findings undermine hopes that other income streams may help GP practices offset the effects of falling income following changes to the GMS contract in 2013/14.
A total of 34% of respondents said their income had not changed from the previous year, and 18% did not know whether it had fallen.
Along with asking practices about overall earnings from non-NHS work, the survey also looked at practice income from a series of common non-NHS workstreams, including solicitor’s reports, private consultations and shotgun licence fitness reports.
Derbyshire LMC secretary Dr John Grenville said the findings were bad news for GPs.
‘It’s going to become increasingly tough,’ he warned. ‘Everyone will be looking to reduce their own costs, there will be less money in the system, and everyone will be trying to get GPs to work for less.’
He pointed out that income from reports for insurance companies had been falling because many were asking patients to exercise their rights to ask for copies of their patient records rather than pay for GP reports.
‘Because of the Data Protection Act, one of the chief areas GPs have been able to rely on for income is probably going to dry up,’ Dr Grenville said.
Medeconomics regularly surveys GP practices to find the average fees charged for a range of private and professional work. This information is compiled in the Medeconomics Database of GP Fees.
Medeconomics is available via a practice-based subscription for £199 a year. This allows up to 15 practice members to access the site. Click here for more details or call 01604 828702.