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Chapter 4: Job satisfaction and work–life balance

4.4 Remuneration

Remuneration remains the area of greatest dissatisfaction among GPs, with 45% reporting ‘maintaining income’ as one of their top challenges as a GP in 2020.5

One in four GPs (25%) are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their remuneration, compared to 8% of other medical specialists and 20% of hospital doctors not enrolled in training (Figure 50). 

40%
of GPs report maintaining income as one of their top challenges 5

Figure 50. GPs are less satisfied with their remuneration than other medical professionals*

GPs are less satisfied with their remuneration than other medical professionals

*Data representing less than 5% is not labelled
Measure: Responses to ‘Please indicate how satisfied or dissatisfied you are with each of the various aspects of your work as a doctor?’
Base: Total survey respondents, n = 3077 (GPs); n = 3578 (other specialists); n = 894 (hospital doctors not enrolled in training)
Data source: University of Melbourne, Monash University. Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life (MABEL). Data from MABEL Wave 11 survey. Melbourne: MABEL, 2020.

Some GPs, particularly in remote areas (43%), report that they are very satisfied with their remuneration.32 GPs in inner-regional areas are the next mostly likely (27%), followed by outer-regional (25%) and major cities (20%).32 This may be due to variation in cost of living across locations, as well as patient mix, and higher incentives available in rural and remote areas.

One-third (31%) of GPs working as locums report being very satisfied with their remuneration, with salaried employees the next most satisfied (27%).32 GPs who are a principal partner of their practice, or an associate, are the least likely to report they are very satisfied with their remuneration, at 20% and 18% respectively.32

GPs who report that a majority of their patients have complex health and social problems are less likely to report high rates of satisfaction with their remuneration.32  




 
It is important that GPs are able to maintain a mix of patients and presentations
 

Figure 51. The patient rebate per minute is far lower for longer consultations

The patient rebate per minute is far lower for longer consultations

Measure: MBS item values, divided by duration of consultation (minutes)
Data source: Department of Health. MBS online: 1 May 2020 Medicare Benefits Schedule. Canberra: DoH, 2019.

Eighty-four per cent of GPs report they are paid by a proportion of their patient billings, while 9% are paid an annual salary or wage.5

GPs aged <45 years (88%) and metropolitan GPs (88%) are more likely to be paid by a proportion of billings than those aged ≥45 years (82%) and regional/rural GPs (76%).5

GPs who are practice owners are less likely to be remunerated through a proportion of billings than non-owners (Figure 52). One in four GPs who are practice owners report they are remunerated via other means, including wages, a fixed hourly or daily rate, proportion of business profit, income after expenses, or partnership distribution.5

Figure 52. The majority of GPs are remunerated by proportion of their billings

The majority of GPs are remunerated by proportion of their billings

Measure: GP responses to the question ‘Which statement best describes how you are remunerated at your main practice?’, split by GP practice ownership status
Base: Responses to survey question, n = 1782
Source: EY Sweeney, RACGP GP Survey, May 2020.

© 2021 The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) ABN 34 000 223 807