The Information Centre for health and social care has published figures that look at the changes in family doctors' pay over time, as well as how pay varies according to factors such as a GP's age and the number of partners in a practice.

The GP Earnings and Expenses Enquiry 2005-06 presents an analysis of tax returns for contracted GPs - the large majority of GPs in the UK.

The report's findings have been agreed by the technical steering committee, which includes representatives from the four UK health departments, NHS Employers and the British Medical Association.

The findings include:

  • Contracted GPs in the UK earned an average of£110,004 in 2005-06.

  • GPs working under a general medical services contract (the majority of contracted GPs) earned on average£106,312. In 1985-86, the most comparable group of GPs earned on average£25,254 (£51,512 in today's terms). Of course, contractual arrangements and work done have also changed over this period.

  • Contracted GPs' average earnings rise with increasing age, up to the 50-59 age group, when they earned on average£117,820 in 2005-06.

  • Contracted GPs in rural practices earned on average£116,967, while contracted GPs in urban practices had average earnings of£108,455.

  • Contracted GPs working alone in single-handed practices had the highest average earnings at£132,010, while contracted GPs working with six or more partners had the lowest average earnings at£105,769.

  • Because the report reflects earnings reported on tax returns, it includes private as well as NHS work and covers both full and part-time GPs.

Preliminary findings from the report were published last October. Those findings remain unchanged and once again exclude employers' superannuation contributions. The full report is at: www.ic.nhs.uk