How Much Does A GP Earn In The UK? (Salaried Vs Partner)

Updated on: December 20, 2023
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Written By Dr Ollie

Every article is fact-checked by a medical professional. However, inaccuracies may still persist.

GPs, or general practitioners, are doctors who see patients in the community, rather than working in a hospital. Working in the NHS, they are often incredibly busy.

Considering how hard work this can be, how much can a GP expect to earn in the UK?

A GP working in the UK makes on average £108,000 per year. GPs in England have the highest average salary across the UK at £111,900, whilst earnings are lowest in Northern Ireland at an average of £104,500 per year. GPs who are partners in their practice earn more than their salaried colleagues.

There are lots of different things that can affect how much a GP earns.

How much they work, where they work and what type of work they’re doing (to name a few!).

As a junior doctor, who aspires to become a GP myself, I thought I’d take this article as an opportunity to take a deep dive into just how much different types of GP can make.

How Much Does A GP Make?

Every year, NHS Digital release the GP Earnings and Expenses Estimates.

These reports are based upon anonymised tax data from HM Revenue and Customs’ Self Assessment tax records and cover both NHS and private income for GPs.

They can give a pretty accurate estimate of what GPs are actually taking home across the UK.

For example, the main findings from the 2022 report were as follows:

CountryAverage GP Salary
England£111,900
Wales£108,800
Scotland£107,700
Northern Ireland£104,500

What’s important to note is that these are average salaries from any and every GP.

Part-time GPs, full-time GPs, GPs who do private work on the side to supplement their income…

It all goes into that average figure.

One of the factors that has the biggest influence on a GP’s earnings is how they’re employed by a GP practice.

They can be:

  • A salaried GP- meaning they’re an employee of the practice and get paid a salary.
  • A GP partner- meaning they own a share of the ‘business’ that is their GP practice. If the practice is doing well, their earnings go up.
  • A GP locum- sort of like a temp teacher, these are doctors who will often work part-time on an ad hoc basis. They’re hired by GP practices to fill rota gaps.

A doctor may start as a locum at a practice, before being taken on as a salaried GP.

After a few years of being a salaried GP, they may be offered the opportunity to become a partner.

The terms of employment for a GP has a significant impact on their earnings. Because of this, it can be useful to consider the average salaries for these different types of GP separately.

See how a GP’s earnings compare to how much other doctors are paid here.

How Much Does A Salaried GP Earn?

A salaried GP is employed by a GP practice much like any other kind of employee.

They get sick leave, annual leave, and generally get paid monthly.

In the NHS, the earnings for a salaried GP range from £65,070 to £98,194, depending on their experience level, working hours and where in the country they’re working.

In contrast to a GP partner, a salaried GP doesn’t get a share of the profits if the practice is doing well.

However, they also don’t take home the stress of managing a failing business if it’s not.

A GP giving a little girl a vaccine

Although a GP may be offered the opportunity to become a partner, some choose to stay salaried because of this fact.

Although you may earn a bit less, as a salaried GP you often have more control over your working hours and which days you want to work, and it’s far easier to switch GP practices if you want to move location.

How Much Does A GP Partner Earn?

A GP partner is a ‘partner’ in the business that is their GP practice.

GP practices are in many ways like a private business that contracts healthcare to the NHS.

The NHS pays them, as a practice, to look after however many patients in their community and to hit certain healthcare-related goals.

For example, a GP practice will get extra money if they reviewed everyone in their community with asthma in the last 12 months to check that their medication is working.

Because they’re a partner in the business, a GP partner will get a share of the profits if a GP practice is doing well.

In practice, this means that they generally earn more than salaried GPs.

The average income before tax for a GP partner working in the UK is approximately £140,000.

As you can see, this is a significant increase on the £65,000-98,000 range for salaried doctors.

However, this extra income doesn’t come without a price (no pun intended!).

As a partner in the business, if there’s no one else that can cover a weekend shift then you have to do it. Whether or not you had plans.

As a GP partner, you’ll be the one staying late to sort out paperwork and organise the hiring and firing of staff.

And as a GP partner, you’re ultimately liable for the quality of care your practice is providing to the patients in your local area.

Although it is more work and stress than just being an employee, lots of the GP partners I’ve met love that they’re able to actually have a say in how the practice is run due to being a co-owner of the business.

How Much Does A Locum GP Earn?

As I mentioned above, a locum GP is in many ways like a temp teacher.

They’re often used to plug rota gaps at a GP practice when the other regular doctors go on leave, it’s particularly busy, or to fill in for part-time employees.

GP locums often work at a number of different practices because they’re only needed for certain hours at each location.

Because of this piecemeal working pattern, in addition to the fact that they’re generally in high demand when hired, locums can command an impressive hourly rate.

The national average for a day’s work for a GP locum is around £700-£800. In certain areas, GP locums can expect a rate of over £100 an hour.

Now despite being paid over a pound a minute, GP locums may not always have massively impressive salaries due to the fact they generally work less than full-time.

A GP giving a patient an injection

One of the main perks of being a locum is the flexibility to work when and where you want.

This is perfect for parents, newly qualified GPs or those who just want a bit more free time!

Even if a locum did want to work 40 hours a week, they may struggle to find the shifts to regularly fill each hour of the day.

GP practices will generally only require a locum for certain hours each week, so locums may find themselves bouncing between practices to try and make up their hours.

If a practice did require a post regularly filling every day, they’d do their best to hire a salaried GP rather than a locum because of how much cheaper they’d be!

How Much Does A GP Trainee Earn?

To become a GP, you first have to graduate from medical school, complete a 2-year foundation training program and then pass through three years of specialist GP training.

Over those 3 years of specialist GP training, you’re referred to as a GP registrar (or GP trainee).

You’re paid by the NHS and can’t do any extra work on the side as a GP locum because you’re not a qualified GP yet!

Over this training period, you’ll earn:

GP Training YearApproximate Salary
1£40,000-£50,000
2£49,000-£50,000
3£60,000

A GP trainee first spends some time rotating around a number of different hospital departments, before completing their training solely in a GP practice.

The exact pay for a GP trainee actually varies depending on which department in the hospital they’re working in and how busy their rota is.

Hospital doctors get extra pay for unsociable shifts such as nights or weekends, so a GP trainee working lots of nights in A&E will earn more than one on a chilled-out psychiatry job.

This is exactly the same case when it comes to how much surgical trainees earn too.

In their third and final year of training, all GP trainees only work in GP practices so will all sit pretty close to that £60,000 mark.

Final Thoughts

General practice is broadly quite a popular specialty amongst doctors due to the favourable work-life balance and generous pay.

Although salaried and locum GPs are by no means paid badly, GP partners who efficiently and effectively run a practice (or a chain of practices) can find themselves earning far above the national average.

I want to be a GP because I genuinely enjoy the work and the lifestyle that the specialty allows, but I am looking forward to picking up a few locum shifts for a bit of extra pocket money once I’m qualified!

About the author
After studying medicine at the University of Leicester, Dr Ollie now works as a junior doctor in London. His interests include medical education and expedition medicine, as well as having a strong belief in the importance of widening access to medicine.