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.