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What do private consultants earn?

What do private consultants earn?

One of the “must read” sections of Independent Practitioner Today, a business magazine aimed at doctors with a private practice, is “Profits Focus”. Profits Focus is put together by Ray Stanbridge who runs an accountancy, and tax advisory service and Martin Murray, a partner at Sandisson Easson & Co, a medical accountants.


Each month they look at one of the private consultant specialties and work out what a typical consultant earns from private practice and what profit they are making, after they have covered the costs of consulting rooms, practice management costs and so on.

It’s a fascinating insight into the earnings of private consultants. Bear in mind that most private consultants are also NHS employees, so their private income could be viewed as what they earn from their part time job.


What does an NHS consultant earn?

But first......any idea what consultants get paid in the NHS? Here’s the basis for NHS consultant salaries for 2011/12. There are several elements to an NHS consultant salary:


  • Base salary: This depends on the number of years of experience. A new consultant is paid £74,504; A consultant with 9 years experience receives £89,370 pa; A consultant with 19 plus years experience receives £ 100,446 pa.

  • Clinical excellence awards: Basic salary is supplemented according to levels of clinical excellence. Clinical Excellence Awards are meant to reward consultants who perform over and above the standard expected of their role - consultants who can demonstrate that they’re delivering safe, high quality services:

      • A Level 1 Award warrants an additional £2,957pa;

      • A Level 5 Award warrants an additional £14,785pa;

      • A Level 9 Bronze Award warrants an additional £35,484;

      • A Level 12 Platinum Award warrants an additional £75,796 pa.

Around 30 consultants earn the top level Platinum award each year. Around 350 consultants earn the Bronze award each year.


According to the NHS Information Centre, NHS Staff Earnings report (January - March 2011), the average NHS consultant salary (under the new NHS contract) is £117,700 pa. (There are around 35,000 consultants working in the NHS.)


How do NHS consultant earnings compare with private consultant earnings?

So, a consultant earns £117,700 pa in the NHS. What does he or she earn from his private practice? Or... if you’re planning to direct your son or daughter towards a medical career, which specialty has the best chance of paying for a comfortable retirement for Mum and Dad....?


Here’s your answer, based on my analysis of the monthly specialty reviews published in Independent Practitioner Today:



Fee income


Orthopaedic Surgeons



General Surgeons















ENT Surgeons













Source: Independent Practitioner Today. Fee income and net profit for 2008, by specialty.


So, if your son or daughter is headed off for medical school this Autumn, make sure you send them off with a copy of the Oxford Textbook of Trauma and Orthopaedics (£237.50 from Amazon). You won’t regret the investment.

Date published: 01 September 2011

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Comments provided below do not represent the views of Intuition Communication. Comments will be published 'as is' and will not be edited by Intuition Communication staff. Intuition Communication is hosting these comments, and is not undertaking an editorial role. However, it is editorial policy to publish comments that have been submitted anonymously. 

About the author

Keith Pollard

Keith Pollard is Managing Director of Intuition Communication, an online publisher in the healthcare sector that operates market-leading web portals such as Private Healthcare UK, the Harley Street Guide, HarleyStreet.com and Surgery Door. Intuition is also active in the online medical travel sector through Treatment Abroad, International Medical Travel Journal and DoctorInternet, the Arabic medical tourism portal. View www.keithpollard.com for my full profile.



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im surprised anesthetists are paided so poorly in private practice. i thought they were among the highest paid specialties; more than most surgeons in any case. I also thought interventional based medicine specialties would be higher too.

jo haa (05/12/2014 21:02:48)

What tosh. Intersting tosh but tosh.

The earners in the NHS on the whole dont do private practice. Excellence awards, far from being paid for good patient care, are bribes for sittin g on committees. So most private prac titioners are more like on £50,000 or more sensible ones have left altogether.

The figures for private practice are IMHO laughable. Just plain wrong.And they take no account of subsidies from hospitals

What would be far more valuable is to look at the profit earned before tax per hour worked, to see how this has changed over time, and how it compares with lawyers and accountants.

Cut Throat (07/02/2012 15:44:06)

thanks sir
your blog topic is so effective and very helpful
we are also provided health care services
our site is http://www.pmi-4u.co.uk

pimjhon jhon (22/10/2011 13:08:23)

I found this really interesting, and you can see why so many consultants are turning to the private sector. Jobs in this sector are available at:


Kate Lewis (12/10/2011 09:21:26)