Average GP pay rose 2.8% in England in 2019/20 - and faster in some other UK nations

Average GP pay in England rose by 2.8% in 2019/20 - outstripping a 1.9% increase in Wales, but well behind growth of 4.3% in Scotland and 6.5% in Northern Ireland, official figures reveal.

(Photo: Viktoria Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Across partners and salaried GPs in England, average income before tax averaged £100,700 in 2019/20 - up from £98,000 in the previous financial year, according to figures published by NHS Digital.

The figure - which includes income across GPs working full-time and part-time - remains the highest in the UK. Average income was lowest in Northern Ireland, at £93,600 for 2019/20, with the figure for Wales at £97,600 and £99,800 in Scotland.

Average income for partners on GMS and PMS contracts in England was £121,800 in 2019/20, the figures show, compared with £106,100 in Scotland, £108,800 in Wales and £99,600 in Scotland.

GP income

Partners' income remain down in real terms in all four UK nations compared with a decade ago - but the shortfall is significantly larger in England and Northern Ireland than in Scotland and Wales.

GP partners in England earned 7.6% less on average in real terms in 2019/20 compared with 2009/10 - while in Northern Ireland the real-terms shortfall is a staggering 9.9%.

In Wales, real-terms average income for partners is 2.8% down over the period - while in Scotland the shortfall is 0.9%.

The figures also show that expenses - particularly in England - continue to rise sharply as a proportion of gross earnings. In England, expenses consumed 69.7% of partners' gross earnings in 2019/20 - up almost 10 percentage points from the position a decade earlier.

Workforce impact

The latest data on GP earnings and expenses come after the RCGP called last month for an emergency rescue package for general practice, warning the profession was in crisis and at breaking point.

BMA leaders also hit out this month at 'gaslighting' GP workforce data, after a change in methodology made the decline in GP numbers over the past six years appear less steep.

GPonline also revealed that general practice lost one in every 30 GP partners in the workforce over the past year, continuing a trend that has seen the total number of full-time equivalent GP partners drop by at least 11.9% over the three years to June 2021.

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