A large-scale survey of GPs has found that incomes have fallen significantly in recent years.
The study, published in the British Journal of General Practice (BJGP), drew on data from postal surveys of random samples of between 1,000 and 1,300 GPs working in England in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2015, and 2017, representing response rates of between 25 per cent and 44 per cent
Data analysis showed that GP partners’ income decreased between 2008 and 2017, with a fall in incomes also identified for salaried GPs.
Mean nominal annual income for partner GPs decreased by 1.1 per cent from £99,437 in 2008 to £98,373 in 2017 and increased by 4.4 per cent from £49,061 to £51,208 for salaried GPs.
Mean sessions worked decreased from 7.7 to 7.0 per week for partner GPs and decreased from 5.6 to 5.3 per week for salaried GPs.
Mean income, adjusted for sessions worked and inflation, decreased by 10.0 per cent for partner GPs and by 7.0 per cent for salaried GPs, between 2008 and 2017.
The authors remark that as of December 2017, the mean annual earnings for consultants in the NHS is £112,040, significantly higher than the mean income this study found for partner GPs, and over twice that of the mean income it found for salaried GPs.
“This suggests that there is a greater financial incentive for medical students to train as consultants, as opposed to GPs,” they say.
They suggest the decrease in GP income over the last decade may have contributed to the current problems with recruitment and retention.