Data chart: How GP pay has risen and fallen over 60 years

Authors: Tom Moberly 

Publication date:  26 Sep 2017

In 2015-16, GP partners earned an average of £101 300, figures released this month by NHS Digital show.[1]

The figures also show that, over the past decade, the average incomes of GP partners have fallen by 8%, from £110 004 in the 2005-06 financial year to £101 300 in 2015-16. Over this period inflation ran at an average of 2.9% a year, according to data from the Bank of England. Taking this into account, the average incomes of GP partners fell in real terms by over 30% between 2005-06 and 2015-16.

This fall followed a steady rise since 1979-80, when average GP incomes sat at £11 902. Between 1979-80 and 2015-16 inflation ran at 3.9% a year on average. Taking this level of inflation into account, average GP incomes in 1979-80 would be equivalent to £46 836 in 2015-2016’s money.

Before 1971-72, GPs’ average incomes had risen steadily since 1955-56, when data on doctors’ incomes were first collected for the Royal Commission on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration 1957-60 report. But between 1971-72 and 1979-80, GPs’ average incomes failed to keep pace with inflation which ran at 15.1% a year on average over this period.

The £101 300 figure reported above for 2015-16 is the average annual earnings for GP partners, and covers those working under either a general medical services (GMS) or a primary medical services (PMS) contract. Those working under a GMS contract earned an average of £99 500, while those working under a PMS contract earned an average of £106 000. Among salaried GPs, average taxable income in 2015-16 was £55 800.


  1. NHS Digital. GP earnings and expenses estimates time series. 2017. [Link] .

Tom Moberly UK editor The BMJ

Cite this as BMJ Careers ; doi: