Physicians in general practice in the United States earn $205,560 per year. In Canada, the pay for family practice physicians is C$251,362 ($187,427 USD) annually, while the physician salary in the United Kingdom is between £37,923 ($47,139 USD) and £103,490 ($128,621 USD) per year.
The median salary for general practice physicians in Australia is AU$120,578 ($90,578 USD) per year, while the mean pay is CHF121,241 ($120,528 USD) for physicians in Switzerland and NOK769,200 ($89,310 USD) for those in Norway.
Physician Salary Influencers
The pay of physicians depends on factors such as the setting and geographic area of practice and experience. Depending on the location of practice, physicians may have opportunities for bonuses for working in underserved areas.
Physicians practice in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private offices. Many are self-employed. The compensation of physicians, whether self-employed or a salaried employee, is influenced by the source of funds. The United States healthcare system has a mix of private insurers, Medicare and Medicaid to compensate physicians for their services. Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Switzerland, and Norway have single-payer health systems. Thus, the government generally sets compensation rates. In the United Kingdom, physicians normally work for the National Health Service.
2. Geographical Area
Physician Salary in the US
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that “Physicians and Surgeons, All Other” in the United States earned about $205,560, as of May 2016. While the median pay stands at $206,920, with the top one-fourth of earners making above $208,000 per year.
Physician Salary in Canada
According to the Canadian Medical Association’s survey, physicians in family practice earned around C$251,362 per year. While PayScale reports the median pay as C$144,956 for “Family Physician/Doctor” professionals, with pay ranging between C$59,556 and C$305,661 per year.
Physician Salary in the UK
Physicians in the United Kingdom earn between £37,923 and £70,018 as specialty doctors, while consultants make between £76,761 and £103,490.
Physician Salary in Australia
PayScale states that the median pay for a “General Practitioner” is AU$131,851 per year. The salary range starts at AU$53,194 and rises to AU$232,816 per year.
Physician Salary in Switzerland
Those in the “Physicians/Doctors, Internal Medicine” field in Switzerland fetch about CHF121,241 per year. Thus, total pay spans from CHF20,426 to CHF234,891 per year.
Physician Salary in Norway
Generalist medical practitioners in Norway earn a median salary of NOK64,100 per month, so, NOK769,200 per year.
In Canada, entry-level physicians earn a median pay of C$122,000. At five years of experience, the median stands at C$148,000 and remains steady through ten years of experience. Physicians who reach 20 years have a median pay of C$205,000, so, those at this stage make 42 percent above the mean pay.
Junior hospital trainees in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service start at £26,614 in the first “Foundation” year and £30,805 in Foundation year 2. Those who pursue specialist training begin at £36,461 and advance to £46,208 at the end of the training.
According to PayScale, entry-level general practitioners in Australia have a median salary of AU$121,356. The median stays generally level after five years of experiences, goes to AU$190,000 after ten years and then reaches AU$200,000 in the late-career stage, or after 20 years. Therefore, late-career general practitioners earn 62 percent above the normal pay. “Experienced” ones are paid 51 percent above the mean pay.
For “Experienced” physicians in Switzerland, earnings run 26 percent above average, while those in the “Mid-Career” stage are 13 percent above. While entry-level physicians rest at one percent below the normal pay.
Physicians generally work full-time. The type of setting will shape the work hours and shifts. Those in clinics and offices normally hold daytime and weekday hours. Some physicians’ clinics and offices open in the evenings and weekends to accommodate patients’ work schedules or those who need urgent care beyond daytime hours.
Hospital physicians often must work long shifts, between 12 to 24 hours at a time, and often pull late night, weekend and holiday duty. Often physicians must be on call. The Canadian Medical Association reports that family medicine physicians averaged 26 hours on call in 2014.
According to the Canadian Government’s “Job Bank,” approximately 91 percent of “General practitioners and family physicians” work full-time. This is higher than the 81 percent of workers overall in Canada who hold full-time hours.
In Australia approximately eight out of ten “Generalist Medical Practitioners” worked full-time. The average work week for these full-time occupants runs 42.5 hours, compared with 40.2 hours for all occupations. If you want to know more about the physician profession, you can also read about the pediatrician salary.
Bonuses & Benefit Packages
Depending on the country, physicians receive bonuses for performance, providing certain services or practicing in areas, especially rural or underserved regions. For instance, provinces in Canada award bonuses for “Pap tests,” mammograms and other preventative care measures. Physicians can also earn incentives in Canada for accepting patients who do not already have a family physician.
According to PayScale, general practice doctors in the United States receive bonuses between $1,021 and $35,745. Family doctors in Canada receive bonuses up to C$48,396. In Australia, bonuses for general practitioners as reported by PayScale reach AU$16,000.
For generalist medical practitioners in Norway, the annual bonus is NOK2,400, or NOK200 per month.
In Australia, Switzerland, and Norway, salaried physicians are entitled to paid annual leave and contributions by their employers to pension funds. Switzerland operates a three-tier retirement system which funds benefits through mandatory and voluntary employer contributions and Old Age and Survivors/Disability Insurance. In the United Kingdom, physicians in the National Health Service can receive their pension benefits at age 55.
Overall, an aging population, more awareness of preventative care and increased access to health insurance will sustain the demand for general practice physicians. However, increased advancements in technology and the expansion of the permitted scope of practice for nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants may stunt somewhat this growth. These professionals increasingly are able to perform functions once left to physicians.
Certain countries may experience shortages of family or general physicians. The Canadian Government’s “Job Bank” predicts that, by 2024, Canada will have 28,300 job openings for “General practitioners and family physicians.” By that time, there will be 12,100 seekers of these positions.
As reported by Le News, an expected retirement of six in ten family doctors could leave Switzerland with a shortage of 2,000 members of this field by 2020. The United Kingdom’s National Health Service could face a deficit of 16,000 primary care physicians by 2020 due to Brexit, says Forbes.
According to the Australian Government’s ”Job Outlook,” job openings of “Generalist Medical Practitioners” should number between 10,001 and 25,000 through November 2019. As of November 2015, the field had 59,500 occupants, suggesting opportunities are available in most regions of Australia.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that, by 2024, the United States will have an additional 14,300 family and general practitioners. This represents an increase of 10 percent. While in 2014, the United States had an estimated 139,800 family and general practitioners.
With either the government or private insurers as the main sources of payments, most general and family practice physicians may have legal or contractually-imposed caps on fees and earnings. However, opportunities to enhance pay come with experience, more patients and finding incentives for certain types of treatment or practicing in certain areas.