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Practice Manager pay – Part 3: Should I have a pay rise?

by in Pay gap, Salary

Practice Manager Pay – Part 3: Should I have a pay rise?(Time to read: 5 minutes)

By Robert Campbell

Continuing our look at Practice Manager pay, this time we’re turning our attention to pay rises.

Having looked at the results of the Gender Pay Gap Survey, I have turned to the simpler ‘pay gap’ between practices of the same or similar size. Clearly ‘pay gaps’ might be explained by locality, rurality, the number of branch surgeries, hours of work, length of service, increments and bonuses, amongst other factors. However, in there somewhere there must be a common thread, a commonality and a consistency.

List size and pay

Comparing list size to pay levels, there’s a clear correlation between larger list sizes and higher pay. In fact, it’s almost incremental.

I have suggested that all Practice Managers have a ‘core’ set of duties and responsibilities and I might further suggest that the ‘starting point’ for determining a practice manager’s salary should be at least £20,000. For a manager working a standard week of 37.5 hours, this equates to £10.23 per hour. If you add an extra £2,000 for every 1,000 patients registered with the practice, the results do demonstrate a pattern which ‘roughly’ ties in with results we found.

Based on the above starting point, take a look at the below calculator to see how you perform against our ‘norm’.

Practice Manager Salary – Calculator
List Size Salary Hourly Rate
Core Salary £20,000 £10.23
1,000 £22,000 £11.25
2,000 £24,000 £12.27
3,000 £26,000 £13.30
4,000 £28,000 £14.32
5,000 £30,000 £15.34
6,000 £32,000 £16.37
7,000 £34,000 £17.39
8,000 £36,000 £18.41
9,000 £38,000 £19.43
10,000 £40,000 £20.46
11,000 £42,000 £21.48
12,000 £44,000 £22.50
13,000 £46,000 £23.53
14,000 £48,000 £24.55
15,000 £50,000 £25.57
16,000 £52,000 £26.59
17,000 £54,000 £27.62
18,000 £56,000 £28.64
19,000 £58,000 £29.66
20,000 £60,000 £30.68
21,000 £62,000 £31.71
22,000 £64,000 £32.73
23,000 £66,000 £33.75
24,000 £68,000 £34.78
25,000 £70,000 £35.80

I must emphasise that the above table is a guide only. The Gender Gap Survey highlighted the fact that around 2% of Practice Managers still earn £20,000 per annum or less. This might be explained by rurality or by reduced working hours or days. The average standard weekly hours in the survey overall was 35 hours per week, but it’s worth remembering, as highlighted in my post last week, that PMs are working an average of 6/7 hours overtime, which of course equates to an extra day per week.

Increase your contracted working week?

It strikes me that practice managers should consider asking their employers to regard their standard working hours as 37.5 at least. Employers should also be made aware of the pension contributions and reduced service consequences of reduced standard hours.

At the other end of the scale, almost 12% of Practice Managers now earn £50,000 or higher, the highest being over £80,000 per annum. Some of these respondents indicated that they were ‘partners’ taking drawings, but high earning managers, over say £40,000 per annum were not paid overtime.

To provide some perspective to Practice Manager pay levels, here is another table that shows the average pay compared to the 2017/18 NHS Pay Bands.

GP Practice Managers – Pay Groups NHS Pay
Salary £k Number Percent Bands
£20k & Less 11 2 Band 3-4
£21k-£24k 32 6 Band 4-5
£25k-£29k 62 12 Band 5-6
£30k-£34k 71 13 Band 6-7
£35k-£39k 108 20 Band 6-7
£40k-£44k 109 21 Band 8A
£45k-£49k 73 14 Band 8A/B
£50k-£54k 36 7 Band 8B
£55k-£59k 10 2 Band 8C
£60k & Above 16 3 Band 8C plus
NHS overtime not paid to Band 8A and above
Totals 528 100 2017/18 pay scales

Build and keep up your pay case

With the above in mind, if your salary is at variance with the figures shown here, you might consider arguing your corner persistently until you achieve an improved salary.

Keep a record of your overall hours today, and remember what you did when your contract and standard hours were originally agreed. Times change and work and workload changes.

Ten years ago, there was no Care Quality Commission and inspections. Look at the extra workload that has brought. Each year there are new tasks, changes to QOF, enhanced services and workload surveys galore. There’s always something new but what do you stop doing? Anything? Even in practices where Assistant or Deputy Practice Managers have been recruited, workloads don’t seem to decrease.

Returning to the subject of overtime, a poll still running on Practice Index indicates that only 25% of Practice Managers are paid overtime, which is clearly wrong. So, in addition to the standard working week, PMs need to address whether overtime is paid for. Plus, there may well be other factors that increase the salary offered, awarded or still fighting for. Here are some examples:

Annual Increments – 5 annual increments of £1,000 per annum, subject to performance

London Weighting – an annual salary addition of say £2,000.

Added to the above, a manager might manage more than one surgery site, an out of hours centre, or a dispensary.

Go for it

Practice Managers should not just sit back and take all the work onboard that is thrown at them, without suitable remuneration. In my opinion, they should remember who employs them and every time new tasks are presented to them by an outside body, such as a CCG, NHS England, or the PCSE, tell ‘partners’ and obtain their agreement to you doing it. This will help raise awareness of the sheer volume of admin that’s required in today’s primary care world.

When asking for a pay rise, submit a written case, and do not just depend on casual conversations. You could – and probably should – refer to the latest pay agreement for NHS staff (the UNISON and NHS Employers websites are useful places to turn) and the Consumer Price Index is a good thing to reference when thinking about inflation and the cost of living. Compelling data is available to support your claim.

This is the time of year to make a stand. NHS staff are getting a much-publicised pay rise, but unless you ask you will not. Good luck.

By Robert Campbell


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Robert Campbell

Robert Campbell

Former GP Practice Manager with over 25 years experience working in Upton, near Pontefract, Seacroft in Leeds, Tingley in Wakefield, Heckmondwike and more recently Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire. www.gpsurgerymanager.co.uk

View all posts by Robert Campbell
10 Responses to “Practice Manager pay – Part 3: Should I have a pay rise?”
  1. mary S Says:

    Hi Robert. I think you need to also add in this advice from NHS pensions:

    Is overtime included in my pensionable pay?
    Overtime is not pensionable if you are employed whole time. It may be pensionable if you
    are working part time, but only if it is paid at your basic rate and your total hours do not
    exceed whole time.


    • Robert Campbell Says:

      I agree about pensions and overtime. It is interesting to note that NHS Pensions annual rises follow the Consumer Price Index.


  2. Peter Allen Says:

    A very interesting article although the list size method just doesn’t work for an hourly rate if you are looking at a proper ‘professional’ practice manager doing a full PM role. I can understand the number of hours worked having some kind of correlation to the list size but the quality of the PM and therefore hourly rate shouldn’t be determined by the number of patients.


    • Robert Campbell Says:

      Thank you for your comments. A full-time PM, hopefully, would be paid a salary but the tie in to list size is only a guide, and I’m sure, not perfect. Strangely it did seem to fit. Most senior manager salaries do reflect the size of an organisation, not just list size or population. It’s the inconsistency that worries me. A good manager could perhaps be rewarded with a bonus or performance-related pay, not just salary. Performance may vary!


  3. Gary Says:

    The article is very interesting and of course who wouldn’t want a pay rise? However, many practices are in a much more delicate financial state than they were only three or four years ago. It would seem rather selfish to ask for a pay increase knowing that partners are now drawing less themselves. I honestly can’t see this changing anytime soon either.


    • Robert Campbell Says:

      Nothing selfish about asking for a pay rise in line with inflation, and bear in mind colleagues working in other parts of the NHS that work with you will be better off!


  4. Eynaya Says:

    Many thanks Robert, very enlightening.
    I was told once too by a fellow PM that the wage was dependent on the practice list size. I wonder if partners/employers are aware of this too… not that am being cynical :rolleyes:


  5. SuS Says:

    Thanks Robert for pulling more information out. As per previous threads PM’s should however bear in mind that if they are nearing retiring and taking their NHS Pension, then they need to be careful not to tip over the threshold for a pay rise percentage in any given year up to and including 3 years prior to retirement.
    To do so could leave the Parctice with a potential huge bill once you have left


  6. Sandie Says:

    I have worked at three practices with list sizes varying from 2500 – 13000 patients and quite frankly I worked harder and did all the strategic work as well as a lot more operational work in the smaller practices than I ever did in the larger practice. In the current climate I don’t think list size equates to PM workload or the requirements to undertake the role. Luckily I have been paid similar hourly rates but still below what a similar role would get in another organisation! I do the job because I love it not for the money.


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