Are doctors better paid in France than in the United Kingdom?

17 March 2020 | Medical career

Student, recent graduate, or practicing physician, you will be no stranger to the question: “where should I practice my profession?” With certain countries to see a shortage of doctors within a decade, it is worth considering whether working abroad might be a superior career choice. Let’s look over the job prospects in France and in the United Kingdom.

Finding a job in France

With a health service which is the envy of many European Union countries, France allows its doctors to practice their profession in the public sector, private sector, or as independent professionals. In some cases, governmental funding may even be allocated to help establish general practitioners in rural areas which are otherwise unpopular placement destinations. Entrepreneurship, for example, provides a means of creating jobs in regions at risk of becoming medical deserts.

 According to a recent study by the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), young general practitioners earn an average annual salary of €69,900 at the beginning of their careers. This is approximately 25% less than is earned by their well-established colleagues. The discrepancy can be explained by the differing demographics of their patient groups. However, these incomes vary according to speciality and can reach €189,000 per year for radiologists.

Pursuing a career in the United Kingdom

The health service in the United Kingdom differs from the French system. The vast majority of doctors, whether in local health centres or large regional hospitals, are employed by the government-controlled public sector. Doctors employed by public sector institutions are public servants and all are paid on the same conditions by the authority in charge of healthcare provision. Choices of position or geographical area do not rest with doctors themselves but are decided by the state according to availability and need. The private sector, meanwhile, is reserved for more affluent patients who wish to receive care more quickly than they would in a public sector institution. The average doctor’s salary in the United Kingdom varies widely, with annual net incomes of between €37,200 and €100,800, depending on whether the doctor works in the public sector or as an independent professional. Pay increases with seniority and speciality.

This salary information is for reference only; income will vary according to your chosen speciality and sector (public or private). There are additional factors which should be taken into account, including cost of living, personal well-being, and family constraints.

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