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Seniority reconciliation exercise: what GP practices need to know

What are seniority payments?

  • Seniority payments were made to principal GPs in recognition of their years of NHS reckonable service until the scheme closed and the last payments were made in March 2020.
  • The annual payment amount was based on the length of NHS service and the profit earned by the GP.
  • Once the seniority scheme closed, the payments were phased out over a six-year period and the seniority funding was diverted into the Global Sum with effect from 1 April 2020.

How were seniority payments calculated?

  • Seniority payments were based on thirds of the average partner income (see next bullet point), with no payment being made if a partner made under one third of the average income, 60% of the payment if the partner made between one third and two thirds, and the full payment if the partner made over two thirds of the average income.
  • Seniority payments were paid 'on account' (based on an interim estimate of entitlement submitted by practices). The actual entitlement depended on the Final Seniority Factor (FSF), which was calculated by NHS England but with a significant time lag, usually three to four years.
  • The FSF was based on the national average of the net relevant earnings of all GPs who were eligible for seniority payments each year.

What is the seniority reconciliation exercise?

  • The seniority reconciliation exercise is the process of adjusting the seniority payments made to practices based on the actual FSFs for the years 2017/18, 2018/19, and 2019/20, which were not published until late 2023.
  • This may have resulted in overpayments or underpayments being made to practices.
  • Practices have received communication from PCSE giving them a single overall seniority adjustment figure. This could include a combination of positive/negative adjustments for individual GPs for any of the individual years for 2017/18, 2018/19 or 2019/20. You’ll want to break down this figure (see below).

What do practices need to do?

  • Raise a case with PCSE via an online form submission and request a detailed breakdown of which GP(s) and year(s) the overall adjustment relates to. PCSE should respond via email.
  • PCSE have said that they won’t collect clawbacks in June 2024 for any practices who’ve raised queries with them. If you have any concerns, submit your query via the Contact Us page on PCSE’s website.
  • If no provision was made in previous sets of accounts for the seniority adjustments now being made, they’ll need to be allocated to the relevant partner(s) in your next set of accounts.
  • Consult your partnership agreement for any clauses that deal with seniority payments and how they are distributed among partners.
  • If any of the adjustments relate to a partner who has died, their beneficiaries or executors may need to be contacted to inform them of the changes and arrange for any payments or refunds.
  • Seniority payments are taxable and pensionable, however depending on how seniority is dealt with in the partnership, this will need to be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Need help?

Get in touch with your usual Larking Gowen contact with any information you receive regarding seniority breakdowns, and we’ll be happy to check the calculations are correct. It’s possible to dispute the proposed adjustments by providing evidence of seniority entitlements for the relevant years. You can find contact details on the Our People section of the website. Alternatively, call 0330 024 0888 or email

Jo Benton





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Larking Gowen


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