NHS pay data reveal sharp fall in 2015/16 GP income

GP income fell 1.2% on average across the UK in 2015/16 compared with the previous financial year, official data reveal.

GPs working as partners or in salaried roles earned £90,100 on average in 2015/16, compared with £91,200 in 2014/15 - a 'statistically significant' drop, the NHS Digital data reveal. The figure for median income for partners and salaried GPs combined fell further - dropping 1.9% to £85,100.

The figures also highlight the collapse in real-terms GP income over the past decade. In cash terms, GPs earned on average £100,676 in 2005/6 - worth £117,539 in today's prices - meaning that today's £90,100 average GP income figure is 23.4% below the level it was at in real terms ten years ago.

From 2014/15 to 2015/16, GPs in Scotland faced the fastest drop in rates of pay anywhere in the UK, the data show. Average income fell 2.8% to £85,600 in Scotland, compared with a 0.9% drop in England to £91,000 and a 2.4% rise in Wales to £87,000.

GP income

In England, GPs in the south west region have the lowest income before tax, the figures reveal - earning just £75,800 on average compared with £102,700 for GPs in the east of England, which is the highest-earning region.

Pay for salaried GPs - a figure that does not differentiate between part-time and full-time salaries - across the UK fell 1.5% in 2015/16 to an average of £55,800.

Pay remained almost unchanged for partners across GMS and PMS contracts across the UK at £101,300, although GMS partners saw a 1.8% rise in income, while PMS partners saw a 1.9% drop.

Expenses, meanwhile, continued to rise - increasing 2.8% for partners across GMS and PMS contracts, taking the proportion of GPs' gross earnings consumed by expenses to 64.9%. Expenses are higher than at any point in the past decade.

GP crisis

GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: 'The figures continue a near decade-long financial squeeze on GP practices, which is leaving many with a demotivated, understaffed workforce that is constantly struggling to deliver safe patient care on inadequate levels of funding.

'At a time when there is justified and rising anger at the government's prolonged 1% pay cap policy, GPs have been given a further 1.2% pay cut.  It's no wonder young doctors are not choosing to become GPs, further impacting the workforce crisis in general practice.

'The government needs to understand it cannot continue down this path and it must immediately implement a wide-ranging plan of investment in general practice before this vital part of the NHS falls further into crisis.'

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