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GP earning and expenses 2016/17

Analysis by DDA vice-chairman Dr Allan Tennant

October 5th 2018

Tagged: DDA news NHS statistical reports

By Dr Allan Tennant

Following the publication of GP Earnings and Expenses Estimates 2016/17, DDA vice-chairman Dr Allan Tennant has provided the following analysis:

  GP type Gross earning
% +/-
% +/-
Pre-tax income % +/-
UK Dispensing 4.4 5.4 2
Non-dispensing 7.7 9.5 4.5
England Dispensing 5 6 2.5
Non-dispensing 7.9 9.4 5.1
Wales Dispensing -0.3 1.2 -3.1
Non-dispensing 4.2 3.8 4.8
Scotland Dispensing -3.6 -4.8 -1.4
Non-dispensing 3.1 4.5 1.5


In 2006/07 dispensing GP income was 20 per cent higher than that of non-dispensing GPs;  it is now 10 per cent. Between 2011/16 the income differential was a constant 13 per cent.

In 2005/06 dispensing practice gross earnings were 42 per cent higher than those for non-dispensing practices. Year on year falls leave the gross earning differential between the two groups  at 29 per cent.


The differential between dispensing and non-dispensing GP expenses has fallen from 62 per cent (05/06) to 38 per cent, with a five percentage point fall in 16/17. Either non-DDs expenses are going up or DDs are going down. This reduction overtime in expense differential to me suggests a loss of the cross subsidy and I remain very concerned about this trend.

Scotland last year (15/16) there were large changes in the numbers for dispensing doctors, what we are seeing this year is things going back to how they were. Dispensing doctors in 16/17 earned 17 per cent more than their non-dispensing colleagues. Since 2009/10 varied between 10-20 per cent.

The difference between dispensing and non-dispensing income fell from 20-11 per cent. Since 08/09 varied between 15-23 per cent.

The wider variation between years in Wales and Scotland is probably due to small sample size. This makes trend analysis difficult.

View the appendix

View the spreadsheet

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