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Government backs GP annual earnings

Source PA News

Updated on 04 August 2009

The Government defended GP earnings after an investigation found some were taking home more than £300,000 a year.

The Daily Mail used the Freedom of Information Act to ask primary care trusts for the GP with the highest earnings in the area.

The overall highest paid family doctor, in the North East Essex PCT, which covers surgeries in the Colchester area, earned £380,394.

Since the introduction of the new GP contract in 2004, doctors can also earn as much as £204 an hour for evening and weekend work, the investigation found. The Department of Health said the new contract has led to improvements in the recruitment and retention of doctors as well as services for patients.

It also said most GPs have seen no increase in their pay over the last three years. Out of 152 PCTs, 22 replied to the freedom of information request, with many others claiming the information was confidential or held by a private company.

In some cases the figures also include money doctors have to pay for staff salaries and rents. A GP in Kirklees, which covers Huddersfield and Dewsbury, earned £321,794, while the highest earning GP in the south London boroughs of Sutton and Merton earned £319,000.

A Norfolk GP was taking home £310,000 - even after outgoings were subtracted.

A British Medical Association spokesman said: "These figures don't tally with statistics based on GP tax returns. Primary care trusts have information based on the amount of income a practice receives - this is not what GPs earn as clearly there are many expenses to be paid such as staff pay and rent.

"There is huge variation in these figures and this is not reflected in previous statistics, which show very little difference between the highest and lowest earning areas of the country."

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "Before the new contract GP recruitment and retention was a real problem. Since then we have achieved dramatic improvements in GP services as well as getting better value for money out of the contract."

These news feeds are provided by an independent third party and Channel 4 is not responsible or liable to you for the same.

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