After a minimum of five years of education, medical students graduate to become qualified doctors. Although there is potential for high earnings, this takes years of training after medical school to reach. The salary varies greatly and depends on many factors, such as experience, location, speciality and private practice.

Salary Ranges for Doctors in the UK

Doctors earn a salary ranging from £32,398 as a Foundation 1 doctor up to £126,281 for the most experienced doctors. The table below outlines the basic annual pay for doctors at different levels of training.

GradeAnnual Basic Pay
Consultant Year 0£93,666
Consultant Year 1£96,599
Consultant Year 2£99,532
Consultant Year 3£102,465
Consultant Year 4 – 8£105,390
Consultant Years 9 – 13£112,356
Consultant Years 14 – 18£119,323
Consultant Years 19+£126,281

GP doctors’ salaries are slightly different from other specialities and also vary depending on experience, ranging from £68,975 to £104,085.

Salary Comparison with Other Medical Professions in the UK

The salary for dentists is the same as doctors up to consultant level, after which they have their own pay scale based upon bands but can earn up to £101,923.

Most other medical professionals within the NHS have their salaries organised in bands. There are 11 bands ranging from two to nine and within each there are two different annual salaries depending on individual experience.

For example, Band two, which includes healthcare assistance, receptionists and phlebotomists, starts at £22,383. At the other end of the scale, Band nine, which includes nurse consultants and director of clinical services, starts at £99,891 and can go up to £114,949 after five years of experience.


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Factors Affecting Doctor Salaries in the UK

There are several factors that affect UK doctor’s salaries. The more obvious one is experience as you can see from the table above, where salary increases depending on the number of years worked and time spent in training programmes.

Secondly, some specialities pay more as they are ‘hard to fill specialities’. These include General Practice, Psychiatry and Emergency Medicine with full-time annual values ranging from £2,789 for specialty Psychiatry to £9,144 for General Practice.

Doctors practising in London are given additional compensation due to the increased living expenses in London. The average compensation is £11,081 but ranges from £3,729 to £32,926.

Finally, doctors can work in private practice instead of the NHS, which is typically only done once doctors reach consultant level or experienced GP. The average private salary for consultants is £200,000-300,000 but can reach up to a whopping £600,000 annually. Most doctors choose to do private practice in addition to their NHS commitments. 

Benefits and Allowances

Doctors in the UK inevitably earn more than their basic salary listed in the table above due to the additional allowances provided.

Firstly, doctors are compensated for extra hours worked over 40 hours a week. This is about a 40th of your basic pay for each additional hour worked.

Doctors are also compensated for working ‘unsociable hours’, most typically night shifts, with an enhancement of 37% of their hourly basic pay. Doctors also receive a weekend allowance which increases depending on the frequency of weekend shifts.

For example, doctors working one in two weekends receive a 15% allowance of their basic salary whereas doctors working less than one in seven weekends receive a 3% allowance.

Thirdly, doctors receive an on-call allowance which is fixed and does not fluctuate depending on frequency. The allowance depends on doctors’ ‘Nodal Points’. For example, a doctor with a Nodal Point of 1 (FY1 Doctors) will receive an allowance of £2,351 whereas doctors with a Nodal Point of 5 (ST6-ST8) will receive an allowance of £4,672.

Finally, awards are available for GPs and consultants from the Employer Based Awards Committees (EBACs) and the Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards (ACCEA). These awards aim to recognise doctors who contribute most to the delivery of safe and high-quality care and the improvement of NHS services. These awards range in value from £3,016 to £77,320.

Long-term Outlook on Doctor Salaries in the UK


The future of salaries for doctors in the UK remains uncertain, with strikes still taking place and pay deal negotiations ongoing.

Since 2008, doctors have experienced a real-term pay cut of 26.1% which has had consequences outside of cost of living and burnout for doctors. The current level of pay has led to doctors leaving the NHS, causing staff shortages and, in combination with deteriorating working conditions, has made being a doctor in the UK unattractive and infeasible.

Despite a (below inflation level) pay rise of 2% in 2022, the Department of Health and Social Care has not been able to put forward a credible offer to end the pay dispute. Therefore negotiations are ongoing and strikes are planned to continue.


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