Exclusive: Profits peak in best year of GMS contract

GMS profit per partner rose by about 8 per cent to £133,452 in 2005/6 but will fall in 2006/7, accountants say.

PMS profit per partner was £157,150, up 10 per cent, according to data from specialist medical accountants Ramsay Brown and Partners. The data are from more than 400 practices in southeast England.

The figures equate to a profit of £52.54 per patient for GMS and £61.87 for PMS practices, 18 per cent higher than GMS.

However, experts said GP profits under the new GMS contract had peaked, and predicted a dip in 2006/7.

Laurence Slavin, a partner at Ramsay Brown and Partners, said: 'I think these figures are as good as it will get under the new GMS contract. Profits are likely to drop by 2 to 3 per cent this year.'

The lack of an inflation rise in the global sum for 2006/7, potential enhanced service cuts and a tougher quality framework indicated a drop in income, he said.

'There are a lot of pressures on costs and not a lot of new income,' Mr Slavin said.

GPC chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum agreed that GP profits could fall in 2006/7: 'It's possible, with no rise in many of the main income streams this year and because practices may struggle to score full points in the revised quality framework.'

But he said that he hoped to see a slow rise in profits in subsequent years.

Dr Meldrum added that the Technical Steering Committee, which contains representatives from the GPC and DoH and supplies contract negotiators with impartial statistical advice, estimated average GP pay in 2005/6 at around £95,000.

The figures from Ramsay Brown and Partners also show that both quality framework and enhanced service income rose sharply in 2005/6.

GMS practices earned £20.50 per patient from the quality framework in 2005/6, a 75 per cent increase on the £11.70 per patient they earned in 2004/5.

PMS practices' quality pay, after deducting the offset of 109 points in 2005/6 and 174 points in 2004/5, rose from £10.60 to £18.50 per patient.

The increases demonstrate that practice performance improved in the quality framework's second year, with income rising more than the 60 per cent increase in the value of quality points.

Enhanced service income grew significantly for all practices. GMS practices earned £5.50 per patient in 2005/6, up £1 from the previous financial year. For PMS practices the figure was £5.15 per patient, up from £4.20 in 2004/5.

- Scottish quality figures, page 9

- £133,452 per partner.
- £52.54 per patient.
- 8% rise on 2004/5.
- Quality income up 75%.
- Enhanced services up 22%.
- £157,150 per partner.
- £61.87 per patient.
- 10% rise on 2004/5.
- Quality income up 74%.
- Enhanced services up 23%.

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