Doctors in Germany already earn enough. This summarizes in a nutshell how Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach reacted on Sunday to the announced practice closures to protest against his policies this Monday. “Many practices close on Bridging Day, and like pharmacists, they also want more money. On average (median), after deducting all costs, they earn around 230,000 euros per year. Should the contribution rate for employees increase so that the fee continues to rise?” wrote the SPD politician on X, formerly Twitter.

According to figures from the Federal Statistical Office for 2021, Lauterbach is right at first glance. It states the annual median income from self-employed medical practice is 448,000 euros – per practice, not per doctor. After deducting the costs, the practices are left with 230,000 euros, although there too the difference is wide. Radiology, nuclear medicine and radiation therapy practices recorded a median net income of 675,000 euros, while in neurology, psychiatry and psychotherapy it was 187,000 euros.

Watch the video: Lauterbach advises risk groups to get a corona vaccination.

Contrary to what the name suggests and Karl Lauternach suggests, the net profit does not go entirely into the pockets of the practice owners. The Federal Statistical Office points out that costs for practice takeovers (usually loans) as well as expenses for old-age, disability, survivors’ and health insurance for the practice owners are not yet taken into account in the net income. The actual disposable income of practicing doctors is sometimes significantly less than 230,000 euros per year. However, there is a gap between gross and net income for all employed people. And the burden of loans is offset by the value of the practice.

According to figures from the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, practicing physicians are left with an average of 25 percent of their fee revenue; the rest goes towards practice costs, taxes, pension, health and nursing care insurance. With annual median income of 448,000 euros, this would be a net income of 112,000 euros, i.e. around 9,300 euros per month. The association of practice doctors, the Virchowbund, states the net income as 85,555 euros (approx. 7,100 euros per month), but leaves open whether this is the average or median income.

For the entire medical profession, including employees, the Federal Employment Agency reports a median gross income of 6,620 euros (almost 80,000 euros per year).

To explain: The median income is the income at which there are as many medical practices with higher income as there are with lower income. If all practices were sorted according to the amount of their income and formed two groups of equal size, the practice that is exactly in the middle of this distribution would generate the median income. They should not be confused with average income, in which all the income from the doctor’s practices is added together and then divided by the number of practices. Outliers upwards or downwards are less important for the median value than for the average value. The median gross income across Germany in 2021 was around 43,000 euros.

Sources: Karl Lauterbach at