BRITAIN’S best-paid NHS family doctor rakes in £700,000 a YEAR – sparking fears of so-called GP “empires”, it’s reported.
The highest-earning practitioner, who hasn’t been named, is likely to run a group of surgeries responsible for tens of thousands of patients.
More than 200 NHS doctors are paid in excess of £200,000, while the average GP takes home £90,000 a year, according to the Times.
The newspaper reports that senior doctors are allowed to set their own pay with little scrutiny due to a secretive system.
Meanwhile health chiefs have been encouraging surgeries to join together to create super-practices, which can offer care for conditions that would prevent patients from going to hospital.
But with the NHS paying GPs for every patient on their books, experts say this could lead to surgery bosses to pay themselves huge salaries, prompting concerns over unaccountable “empires”.
A freedom of information request to the NHS Business Services Authority, to which GPs must report their NHS earnings to claim a pension, revealed that one doctor received between £700,000 and £799,000 from the NHS in 2015-16, the most recent year for which figures were available.
The next highest earners were four GPs who were paid £400,000 to £499,000 while 204 were paid between £300,000 and £200,000 last year.
Chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, earned just below £195,000 last year.
Alex Wild, of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, which obtained the data, told the Times: “Few would begrudge paying doctors well, but it’s clear a minority are creating empires and raking in far more than could have been imagined by those who proposed the arrangements.
“The chancellor allocated yet more money to the NHS at the budget last month, but when a GP can earn eight times as much as the average consultant you have to question whether greater emphasis should be placed on making the most of existing resources.”
The NHS pays £8.9billion a year to the 7,763 GP practices and surgeries receive an average of £151 a year for each patient.
After meeting the running costs of the surgery, GP partners are able to set their own salaries.
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According to figures released by the Office for National Statistics earlier this year, the average UK salary is £27,271 – although this tends to be those over the age of 30.
Breaking UK wages down by profession reveals that the nation’s biggest earners are working in the City, with brokers topping the list of average earnings.
Business chiefs and pilots came in second and third place, whilst doctors were found to be working in the 8th most lucrative job in the country.