Official NHS figures published last week appear to confirm predictions in GP that earnings for 2004/5 would exceed £100,000 on average.
Average net income for GMS GPs is reported as £102,437, compared to £116,583 for PMS GPs, and £127,924 for dispensing GPs. The figures come from income tax data for almost 18,000 UK GPs. They cover private and NHS income before tax, minus expenses.
But accountants say that the figures may be inflated by superannuation payments.
The 14 per cent employers’ contributions practices pay for staff count as expenses, but GP partners must include both the 14 per cent employers’ and the 6 per cent employees’ contributions as income on tax returns — inflating pay figures.
This rule was introduced for 2004/5, and accountants say some firms included the 14 per cent, while others did not. In previous years, the employers’ contribution was paid directly by primary care organisations.
Stuart Williamson, a partner at accountants Williamson West, said: ‘The 2003/4 and 2004/5 figures are not comparing like with like. The headline figure overstates GPs’ income.’
Laurence Slavin, a partner at Ramsay Brown and Partners, said the earnings data, collected from HM Revenue and Customs’ tax database, would not differentiate between earnings data including and not including employers’ superannuation contributions.
Health minister Lord Warner said extra pay was ‘not just to boost GP profits’.
DoH pay figures
Average GP income for 2004/5
Source: NHS Information Centre