Seniority

A Guide for GPs in Lancashire & Cumbria

NOTE: GPs should be aware of the changes introduced in the 2014-15 contract which mean that Seniority will be phased out and re-cycled within the Global Sum.

No new entrants will be allowed into the scheme.  Further details available on the BMA Website – Seniority Payment Changes

Seniority payments are payments to a contractor in respect of an individual GP provider (a partner, single-handed practitioner or a shareholder in a limited company that is a GMS contractor). The payments reward experience and are based on the GP’s number of years of reckonable service.

Any GP provider who has at least two years of service as a GP provider will be eligible for seniority payments. There is a very complicated process by which you can calculate your seniority payments and the BMA has produced specific advice on this subject.

There are four stages in calculating the seniority payment to which you are entitled.

Stage 1 – calculating reckonable service.

Stage 2 – establishing your seniority and qualifying dates.

Stage 3 – the really difficult bit – calculating the proportion of the full annual payment that you are entitled to based on tables of “Average Adjusted Superannuable Income” that are published retrospectively by the DOH each year. Full seniority payments are paid if your superannuable NHS income is 2/3rds or more of the “Average Adjusted Superannuable Income” for that year. If your income is between one and two thirds of this figure you are entitled to 60% of the full seniority payment. Those doctors earning less than one third of the figure are not entitled to seniority payments.

Stage 4 – Calculating the quarterly seniority payments based on a sliding scale of payments depending on years of reckonable service.

A few GPs who have not kept tabs on their earning against the “Average Adjusted Superannuable Income” have inadvertently gone below the two thirds or one third threshold and suffered unfortunate clawbacks years after the event. The reverse is also true and GPs have had significant underpayments and received an unexpected bonus. Part of the reason for these “surprises” is that the figures published by the DOH are sometimes several years late.

View the latest “Average Adjusted Superannuable Income” and seniority payments for years of reckonable service.

If GPs are unsure about their position they should consult a specialist accountant. LMC will happily provide a list upon request.

GPs who are thinking about reducing their clinical commitment coming up to retirement should also consider the effect on seniority. Similarly where GPs have or are considering a portfolio career they should enquire about whether the income will qualify for seniority or not. The LMC office is happy to provide general advice to individuals on this often complicated area.

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