Intended for healthcare professionals

Career Focus

What level of income can I expect if a UK practice says it is “well above average” or “very profitable”?

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 04 September 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:s92
  1. Steve McCabe, GP principal
  1. Portree Medical Practice, Isle of Skye


Got a career or related problem that needs answering? Can't find the right person to point you in the right direction? Log on to the Advice Zone ( for reliable medical careers advice. You can post a question or see if one of our 300 advisers has already answered a similar question. Here is a selection of questions and answers posted on the site.

Firstly it depends on which part of the United Kingdom you are looking to work in. Despite all the promises that the new contract would redress the balance, it looks as though GPs in Scotland will continue to earn around 10% less on average than their counterparts south of the border—I guess that's the price we have to pay for living in Scotland.

When practices talk about above average earnings I can only assume that they mean more than the net intended remuneration under the old system. But we have a new contract now and no one really knows yet what “average earnings” are going to be in the future. At present, net earnings in the region of £60 000-£70 000 would perhaps be a reasonable “guesstimate”; so anything above this might be “highly profitable.”

At the end of the day it comes down to a personal decision as to whether or not you are prepared to do the job for the money on offer. But if money is your prime motivator then it may be that UK general practice is not for you.


  • More about the Advice Zone

  • Almost 2000 doctors and medical students have already posted their queries on the Advice Zone ( on everything from exams and career choices to maternity leave or bullying bosses. Read what our advisers have suggested, or submit your own question to the panel.

  • What's your advice?

  • If you have anything helpful to add—perhaps you've been in a similar situation yourself—then you can post your own comments on the Advice Zone by going to the relevant section, then select the question and simply click on the “Reply to Question” button. Alternatively, you can send a rapid response to any of the questions and answers on the page.

View Abstract