GP partners' income fell a quarter in seven years from post-QOF peak

GP partners' income fell by nearly a quarter in real terms over just seven years from 2005/6, official data show.

GP income
GP income

Data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) published on Friday reveal that income for all GPs – partners and salaried – fell by a ‘statistically significant’ average of 1.4% between 2011/12 and 2012/13.

But the data reveal the extent to which partners’ income has fallen off a cliff from its peak in 2005/6 after the introduction of the QOF.

Across GMS and PMS partners combined, GP income was £100,170 in 2004/5, the first year of the new GMS contract.

Huge real-terms drop

In 2005/6, when the QOF took effect, this rose to £110,000 – equivalent to £129,994 in real terms in 2012/13.

But official data show that by 2012/13 GMS and PMS partners’ income had fallen to £102,000 – 22% down in real terms from 2005/6.

For GMS partners the fall was fractionally steeper, with income down 23% in real terms from 2005/6.

The data show that GP partners earned less than £2,000 more in cash terms in 2012/13 than they did the year before the new GP contract took effect.

Expenses have risen in relation to practices’ gross earnings every year since 2005/6, the data reveal.

Rising GP expenses

In 2005/6 expenses accounted for 55.1% of partners’ gross earnings across PMS and GMS practices, but by 2012/13 this had risen to 62.5%.

For salaried GPs working in GMS and PMS practices, average income also fell from 2011/12 to 2012/13, down 0.6% from £56,800 to 56,400.

The data also reveal differences in income changes between UK countries, with the fastest drop in income between 2011/12 and 2012/13 coming for GP contractors in Wales.

Partners in Wales saw income fall 2.4% in that period from £93,300 on average to £91,000.

In England, income fell 0.9% from £106,100 to £105,100, while in Northern Ireland income fell 0.6% from £92,800 to £92,200.

In Scotland, however, income rose from £88,700 to £88,800 – a 0.1% increase.

Less than 10% of GPs across the UK earned in excess of £150,000 in 2012/13.

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