A very good answer given by a doctor doing DM Medical Oncology in AIIMS, Delhi…….
This is a very complex question. So a detailed answer.
There are few high flying doctors in India who are superstars like Amir, Shahrukh and Akshay, who earn loads of money, but majority of the doctors working in corporate hospitals are like the background dancers dancing along with the superstars doing ‘thatha thiyaa’ and earning a fixed salary usually between 75000 to 1.5 lakhs post tax.
In some hospitals the income is shared in the department. The big Boss takes 60 to 80 percent, the next senior takes 20 to 40 percent and the remaining doctors have to be satisfied with the bread crumbs. But remember that the superstars or big boss would have worked their ass off for decades to reach that level.
Sometimes the big doctors won’t allow junior talent to enter the hospital or rise up because of fear of competition.
Corporate hospitals are run by businessmen and MBAs. They are listed on the stock markets and are there to make money for their share holders. It is rare to see a CEO of a corporate hospital staying there for more than a couple of years as they are under constant pressure to generate profits.
Just like engineering colleges are mushrooming there has been an increase in post graduate doctors passing out. This benefits corporate hospitals as they are able to get labour at cheaper price, instead of employing 1 surgeon for 3 lakhs they can employ 3 for 1 lakh, the supply is exceeding the demand. Majority of corporate hospitals in cities are saturated.
Central government pay scales for doctors are similar to what a class 1 officer or teacher in IIT or NIT will earn. You can be a top class neurosurgeon or a mediocre physician or a pharmacologist your salary will be same. No private practice is allowed. Usually doctors interested in academics and research take up these jobs.
State government. Some allow private practice others don’t. Salaries are low in states were private practise is allowed. In Tamilnadu an assistant surgeon is paid about Rs 40000 a month. If you have a busy private practice you would generally resign your state government job and focus on private practice.
These are charitable hospitals and the pay scales of doctors here are usually very less. Doctors work here because they love what they are doing, most leave after few years when the realities of life strikes them and they find it difficult to provide for their families.
This is a different ball game. You can open a small one room clinic and see few patients a day and earn about 50000 Rs a month or you can have your own hospital with beds and provide employment to others. This needs lot of investment and is beyond the means of most doctors. The khandhani doctors or doctors whose previous generations have been doctors usually have a preset clinic or if your parents are already wealthy (usually business) then it is easy to setup a hospital. But the profit margins I guess would be in the order of 10 to 15 percent like any other business.
Then there are the free lancers who work in multiple hospitals. Traveling lots of Km daily from morning to late night in the heavy traffic to see patients and earn money. I doubt it if they have a life. I don’t know how much they earn.
To sum it up. My assessment is that the doctors earn the following
Up to age of 23: pocket money from parents
Internship: Rs 3500 to 20000 pm (depends on where you do your internship)
25- early 30s: Rs 15000-80000 pm (depends on where you do your PG). Does not include tuition fees which even in government hospitals can go up to Rs 3-5 lakhs a year.
1-3 years of unemployment in between preparing for PG seat. You are dependent on your parents or spouse for money.
35 and above: Rs 75000 to 2 lakhs pm, that is what most doctors earn post tax. Few earn about 3 to 5 lakhs or above but they are in the tail end of the standard curve.
As you see that doctors start earning a decent salary only in their 30s, a good decade after other professionals.
The brightest, smartest and most hardworking student in the class takes up medicine in India. The same person in an another profession would have earned much more for the time and effort he puts in Medical profession. When he/she sees his/her classmates who idolized him/her earn more than him/her and having a better standard of life it pricks him in the corner of the heart, he/she is human after all and not a saint.
Don’t look at the outliers who earn outrageously, they don’t represent the life of an average doctor. Just like all lawyers are not Jethalmani, Sibal or Salve, all doctors are not crorepatis.
Remember as a doctor you are on call 24×7, there is no overtime pay, there is no risk allowance, there is no off for working on holidays. You don’t get free food in the hospitals or sodexo coupons. Many times you can’t afford the treatment you are giving to your patients. The corporate hospital you work in will not give you free treatment if you or your family members fall sick. You get only 2 weeks paid leave in a corporate hospitals and work week is from Monday to Saturday and not Friday.
DON’T JOIN MEDICINE, IF YOU WANT TO EARN MONEY. There are easier and less stressful ways to do it. Doctors in India deserve to be paid better. Those who earn well, rarely get to enjoy the money they earn. It is usually the kids and spouse who benefit from what you earn.
Most doctors have zero knowledge of finance, investment, stocks and mutual funds because they have no money for the first 10 to 15 years of life to invest. After that they use the money which comes to buy the necessary luxuries of life like car and house (on EMI) and then you feel it is too late to invest.
My dear colleagues please correct me if my figures are wrong. I have never worked in a corporate hospital, I have based it on my interactions with friends working in corporate hospitals.
To my non medical friends this post is not about corruption in medicine or the unethical practise being done by few doctors, that is a matter of discussion in a different answer. This post is about how a ethical, law abiding, tax paying doctor earns money.