The GP income issue: GPs banking on the risky business of capitation

+In the spotlight

The GP income issue: GPs banking on the risky business of capitation


Most GPs are private business owners, part-funded by the taxpayer. Cliff Taylor examines the challenges of the business side of general practice, and whether the reward is good, bad or indifferent

TWO YEARS AGO, on an average annual income of $155,000, GPs topped the list of best-paid professions. The headlines came thick and fast:, Shaun Phelan, MAS business advisory manager Shaun Phelan says the number of younger GPs wanting to buy practices may not match those wanting to sell


90% of this is simply opinion. The University of Waikato study is consistent what I and may other Practice owners have experienced. This is the "bottom line":

Net profit per working owner:

2013 – $304,621

2017 – $245,435

This is a 20% drop in income over 4 years. Personally it has been a 30+% drop over 8 years - despite working harder (and seeing more and more complex cases), adjusting the "business model", being as "lean & efficient" as possible and trying to be innovative. Please show me the list of professionals who have had a 20% drop in personal incomes and chosen to remain in business. Want to have a break? Pay a locum - who will generate less income than you do because they won't do the "extras". So you effectively lose more out of that income. Go to a conference? Who pays for that? God help you if you get sick. Can you recommend this to your junior colleagues? It is only getting worse. Simply put, we are not valued and we are not allowed to place a value on ourselves. If you think this is our problem and we need to sort it out you have another thing coming. What is happening is more and more Practice owners are using what they have to invest in their retirement and not in the business. Will you even miss me when I'm gone?

Agreed Bryan.

No effective representation. The business case for General Practice long forgotten. PSAAP now dysfunctional and factional with a certain waka being paddled in another direction.

United we stand, divided we've fallen.

There is no way any sane person would recommend GP as a career!

I left general practice after 32 years of running my own practice in NZ.

It is no longer, sadly, sustainable to be a solo GP.