Shocking salary revealed through Freedom of Information request by the Mail
Average GP earns around £105,000
By Sophie Borland
Last updated at 10:05 PM on 4th November 2011
An unidentified GP from Kent has an annual salary of £770,444 (posed by models)
The top-earning GP in the country receives an annual salary of more than £750,000, it emerged yesterday.
The astonishing pay packet is his or her pre-tax income even after all outgoings – including the salaries of all locums, nurses and receptionists they employ – have been taken into account.
The unidentified GP from Kent is believed to be reaping the benefits of a new contract that allows doctors to run several surgeries that rake in NHS cash for providing extra treatment.
This can include minor operations, tests for diabetes or help for drug addicts.
The extraordinary salary, revealed through a Freedom of Information request, marks the rise of the ‘Super GP’.
The request by the Mail was to obtain figures specifically for individual pay of the top-earning GP for every health trust in England.
It uncovered the highest was recorded by NHS Kent and Medway at £770,444.
A second doctor in Birmingham has been found to be earning an annual sum of £665,000, while another in Essex was paid £412,400.
The figures have angered patients’ groups and other family doctors who say the standard of care provided by these doctors does not match their exceptional pay packets.
Their vast salaries, funded by the taxpayer, come at a time of supposed financial austerity and severe cutbacks within the NHS.
Dr Vijayakar Abrol, a GP in Birmingham, said: ‘These Super GPs are more like businessmen. They employ slaves to run their practices – practice nurses and half a dozen locum doctors.
‘But if you look at all the indicators, they show that the care they are providing is not better, it is worse.
‘The smaller practices are better and patients see a familiar GP, not a locum.’
Family doctors have to provide details of their salaries to their Primary Care Trust every year so the NHS can calculate how much to pay into their pension pots.
Earlier this year, it emerged that 950 GPs earned more than £200,000 in the 2008/09 year – up from 910 the year before – despite repeated promises by ministers to get to grips with doctors’ pay.
The average GP earns around £105,000, with many earning between £53,000 and £80,000.
But the average figure rose dramatically from about £70,000 in 2004 thanks to a new pay deal negotiated by Labour.
It enabled doctors to top up their pay by meeting targets for treating a range of conditions as well as allowing them to opt out of working evenings and weekends.
But many patients are now finding it increasingly difficult to see their doctor and in some parts of the country they are forced to wait up to three weeks for an appointment.
As part of the Labour deal, GPs could also choose to become an Alternative Provider of Medical Services – enabling them to run one or more practices that could earn extra NHS cash for providing additional services.
This could include minor surgery to remove cysts or ingrowing toenails, treatment for drug addicts or alcoholics or screening for cervical cancer.
Their practices also earn up to £120 a year for every patient on their books – and the largest will have tens of thousands on their lists.
Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chairman of the GPs Committee of doctors’ union, the British Medical Association, said: ‘To earn this amount of money as a GP is unheard of – indeed the 44,000 other GPs in the UK earn absolutely nowhere near this amount.
‘The vast majority of GPs have seen their salary fall in the last few years and most expect that to be the case this year too.’
This week, the Government ordered GPs to take a pay freeze for a second year running as part of a new contract negotiated with the BMA.
This actually works out as a pay cut once inflation has been taken into account.
Katherine Murphy, chief executive of The Patients Association, said: ‘With patients telling our helpline that services are being cut across the country, these GP salaries are going to be a bitter pill to swallow.’