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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 July 2007, 10:49 GMT 11:49 UK
Half of GPs 'earn over 100,000'
GP writing a prescription
GPs pay has risen since a new contract came in
Nearly half of all family doctors have annual earnings in excess of 100,000, figures show.

The NHS Information Centre data revealed 46% of GPs earned more than 100,000 in 2004-5 - the first year of their new contract.

One in 10 were also taking home at least 150,000 in what is the clearest breakdown of GP earnings to date.

Doctors' leaders said the income included private work, while ministers said pay rises had improved services.

GPs - and the government for agreeing the contract - have been criticised for the amount of money they now earn.

The NHS now has tens of thousands more staff helping to improve patient care and reduce waiting times
Ben Bradshaw, health minister

Before the new contract came in in April 2004, average pay was around the 80,000 mark.

The government said it never anticipated doctors would make so much, with critics arguing the pay rise has contributed to health service deficits.

It was already known that the typical family doctor took home 100,170 in 2004/05, when pay for private work was added to their NHS salary.

But the breakdown of the figures showed family doctors in England are paid more than their counterparts in other home countries, with average earnings either side of the Scottish border differing by more than 20,000.

Across the UK, 9% of GPs were found to have had a net income of less than 50,000 in the 2004/05 year.

Highest earners

But it also showed that one in 200 lived off an income of more than 250,000.

Dr Laurence Buckman, acting chairman of the British Medical Association's GPs committee, said the figures would include private work such as occupational health services for private companies.

He also said the highest earners would be dispensing doctors - who double up as GPs and pharmacists - in rural areas.

And he added: "The earnings figures cover only the income of self-employed GPs and do not include the incomes of salaried GPs who now constitute about a third of the family doctor workforce.

"Salaried GPs usually earn less than GP principals who run the business side of providing general practice for the NHS in addition to seeing patients."

Health Minister Ben Bradshaw said: "By modernising NHS pay contracts and improving working lives, the NHS now has tens of thousands more staff helping to improve patient care and reduce waiting times.

"We invested significant extra funding in GP services both to improve services and reward GPs."


SEE ALSO
Q&A: GPs' pay
19 Jan 07 |  Health
Average GP pay rises to 106,000
29 Nov 06 |  Health
GPs 'earn up to 250,000 a year'
18 Apr 06 |  Health

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