GP Salary Australia: 2020 Update

Article by Rachael Walsh31 Jul 2020
GP working - GP salary Australia

The average GP salary in Australia varies for a number of reasons. Working in general practice, you’re much more likely to be an independent contractor than a salaried employee, so your GP earnings will depend on the number of hours you work and the type and number of consultations you do. Your rates of pay also depend on your location, for example if you are working in New South Wales your rate could differ from that of Queensland.  

Potential GP earnings and rates of pay

General Practice works differently from other specialities as most of your earnings will come from Medicare billings. Your income depends on whether you are in a bulk or mixed billing practice, how busy the practice is and the quality of patient care given.   An average annual income for GPs in Australia is $350,000.   GPs with Fellowship recognised by RACGP (Royal Australian College of General Practitioners) with no restrictions can expect to earn around $150 per hour or 70% of the billings, whichever is greater. Often in permanent roles, you’ll receive a guaranteed amount per hour (around $150) for the first three to four months. After this, you’ll receive the hourly rate or a percentage of the billings, whichever is greater.   A typical day rate is $1,200 up to $1,600 if you’ve seen more patients or done procedural work such as fitting an Implanon.   If you’re a GP with restrictions (for example, an International Medical Graduate required to work in areas of need), you can still earn as much as $150 per hour or 70% of billings, but this depends on where you are based.   Non-VR GPs earn less, around 60–65% of billings. Hourly rates are less common for non-VR GPs, but some permanent roles offer $90 – $120 per hour or a percentage of the billings (whichever is greater) for the first few months.   You can significantly top up your GP earnings by taking on weekend and evening work or by upskilling to rural GP work.  

GP salary in the wake of Covid-19

General practice in Australia has taken a hit during Covid-19. GP visits and billings are down and many GPs have taken on reduced hours. Data from Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) shows that there was a 10% drop in GP visits for the management of chronic disease in March 2020. Some GPs took on reduced hours and we saw a big reduction in the number of GP locum roles available. This has affected the average GP salary in Australia.   But it’s not all bad news. Telehealth is a burgeoning industry and it has the potential to increase the number of patients GPs can help as well as provide more flexible working conditions for GPs. As Covid-19 restrictions ease in some states, we also expect to see an increase in GP visits as the country establishes a ‘new normal’.   If you’re able to be flexible with where you work and what sort of work you take on, you have more opportunities to increase your income.  

Tips for boosting your GP earnings 

Medrecruit’s Harleen Gill specialises in finding locum and permanent roles for GPs in Australia. She says flexibility and advanced skills are the keys to earning more as a GP.   “I often suggest my GPs do an Advanced Life Support Course. This takes two to three days and portions of it are online. But with that extra qualification, some doctors can earn $1800 – $2000 per day.   “It depends on location too, of course. In areas with lots of competition for roles, like central Sydney or Melbourne, expect to be paid a little less than the average market rate. Around 65% of billings or $135 per hour. This is because there’s lots of competition for those roles, so clinics don’t need to make them financially attractive.   “It’s different in rural locations. Not everyone wants to or can work in rural locations. There’s a government subsidy for clinics and in many rural GP roles you’ll have more responsibility compared to suburban clinics.   “But if you’re money-motivated and are excited about new experiences, I’d consider learning extra skills and taking on rural roles.”    

Why locum as a GP?

Taking on locum GP work, or even locuming full time as a GP can give you flexibility and increased earning potential. Lots of doctors we work with choose to locum full time, choosing when and where they work.   The more flexible you are with the dates and areas you want to work, the more likely you are to find roles. On the flip side, if you want to take a break from medicine, you can enjoy more flexibility and only take on roles that interest you. The top-earning GP locums tend to be those who work in rural and remote locations.

Shhh, don't tell the others! Unlock key insights in our 2023 Australian Doctor Job Market Report.
Download now
Rachael Walsh
Article by Rachael WalshMedrecruit Editor