Seniority factor

Gp and computer

31 / 5 / 2016 Midnight

Seniority factor payments were introduced as part of the new General Medical Services (GMS) contract in 2004. Payments are part of an individual GP’s pay, although they are paid to the practice.

The payment that a GP receives is based on a scale and is dependent on:
  • a GP's years of reckonable service 
  • a GP's 'qualifying income fraction' - this determines the proportion of the seniority payment that a GP receives and is a fraction of their NHS profits (excluding any seniority payment) compared to the national superannuable income.

GPs earning less than a third of the national superannuable income are not eligible for seniority payments. GPs earning between one third and two thirds of the national superannuable income receive 60 per cent of the payment. GPs earning two thirds or more of the national superannuable income receive 100 per cent of the payment.

Phasing out of seniority payments 

It has been agreed that seniority payments will cease altogether on 31 March 2020, with the total amount reinvested into global sum. To minimise impact on the profession, the payments are being phased out. NHS Employers and GPC have agreed a mechanism for achieving this, which will mean annual reductions in payments and simultaneous reinvestment of those funds into global sum.  

Those annual reductions will be achieved via the combined effect of progression (up the seniority pay scales), attrition (due to retirement and closing entrants to the scheme) and a percentage reduction to the pay scales (evenly across all increments). 

The first reductions and reinvestment took place in October 2015 and subsequently will happen in April 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. There will be an assessment each year as to whether the reduction is sufficient to deliver full phasing out of payments by 2020. If not, seniority payments will be adjusted accordingly. 

There have been no new entrants to the scheme from 1 April 2014. In the meantime, those in receipt of payments on 31 March 2014 are continuing to receive payments and progress as set out in the SFE. 

2016/17 interim factors

The 2016/17 interim seniority factors are £94,982 in England and £87,219 in Wales. These will be used by NHS payment agencies to determine the level of the seniority payments for 2016/17. More information can be found on the NHS Digital website 

Final factors

The final seniority factors are calculated once data from GP tax returns has been collected and the average superannuable income from GPs is known. The latest available seniority factors are outlined below:

  • 2012/13 - £91,050 for England and £83,594 for Wales
  • 2011/12 - £92,034 for England and £84,199 for Wales
  • 2010/11 - £94,080 for England and £82,237 for Wales 
  • 2009/10 - £93,678 for England and £82,266 for Wales 
  • 2008/09 - £92,955 for England and £79,096 for Wales 
  • 2007/08 - £90,375 for England and £78,938 for Wales 
  • 2006/07 - £92,140 for England and £82,399 for Wales 
  • 2005/06 - £91,123 for England and £81,413 for Wales  
  • 2004/05 - £81,123 for England and £71,535 for Wales 
Once the final factors are published, payment agencies make any adjustments necessary to payments for previous years.

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