GMS profits up 1 per cent more than PMS

UK GMS GPs enjoyed a higher percentage profit increase in 2005/6 than their PMS counterparts, according to figures from the DoH's Information Centre.

GMS GPs averaged profits of £106,312 (up 10.4 per cent), compared with PMS GPs on £120,272 (up 9.2 per cent on 2004/5).

Figures for UK GPs, excluding salaried GPs, showed that gross turnover rose by 6.5 per cent to £245,020.

Average expenses were £135,016, an increase of 3.9 per cent. This means that average profits were £110,004, an increase of 9.8 per cent.

A breakdown revealed average net profit rose most in Wales (up 11.6 per cent to £102,194), then England (up 9.7 per cent to £113,614), Scotland (up 9.6 per cent to £90,619) and Northern Ireland (up 8.2 per cent to £98,656). The figures include both NHS and private work.

Figures for salaried GPs were much lower, with 2005/6 average pre-tax earnings at £46,905. The data do not differentiate between full- and part-time GPs. There is no 2004/5 comparison.

The headline 10 per cent rise was seized upon by sections of the media, with The Independent splashing on the story headlined 'Doctor, doctor, how can you justify a 10 per cent pay increase, a year after you were given a 22 per cent hike? Is this a sick joke?'

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman responded, saying that the figures pre-dated the two-year pay freeze period.

'We know from a UK-wide GP survey that three quarters of GP principals expect income to go down in 2007/8.

'There is a limit to the efficiencies you can make and the inflation effects you can absorb on a zero pay award: 0 per cent for GPs in 2007/8 could actually equate to a 6 per cent cut in income in real terms,' added Dr Buckman.

Dr Buckman said that GPs were now being penalised for rising to the challenge of performance-related pay for delivering the quality of care that the government had asked for.

He also pointed out that 2005/6 figures included the planned increase in the value of one quality framework point from £75 to £124.60.

The GPC chairman criticised the inclusion of dispensing doctors in the figures. 'They earn more than non-dispensing GPs who form the majority because they are effectively running two businesses,' he said.

Dr Buckman added that non-dispensing self-employed GMS GPs earned £102,648 in 2005/6 for both NHS and private work.

neil.durham@haymarket.com

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