GPs face £8,000 seniority pay clawback

Hundreds of part-time GPs could find themselves facing demands they repay thousands of pounds in seniority pay that they earned as much as five years ago.

Last week the NHS Information Centre released revised estimates for average GP pay, showing that the profession earned more than it was thought between 2004 and 2006.

In 2004/5 the 'final seniority figure' - which is used to calculate seniority entitlement - was £81,000, not £75,000 as previously thought. It increased its 2005/6 figures from £81,000 to £91,000.

Bob Senior, an accountant with Tenon and Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants' vice chairman, said that the increase in the figures would mean that ‘there could be some GPs who'd thought they were entitled to their full seniority, and it now turns out that they weren't'.

To receive their full seniority pay, a GP has to earn more than two-thirds of the final seniority. Those who earn between one-third and two-thirds are entitled to just 60% of their seniority.

NHS Employers said that, as a result of the changes, ‘some PCTs may need to recover overpayments from some practices'.

Mr Senior speculated the clawbacks could hit up to 10% of GPs.

Those most likely to be affected will be part-time partners, whose income is less than two-thirds of the recalculated averages. They would have to repay 40% of their seniority pay for those two years, which could amount to as much as £8,000.

  • Read this week's GP dated 7 August for the full version of this story.


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