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Where do I stand on seniority pay?

I work part-time in a practice and do not pay pension contributions – does this mean I am not entitled to seniority payments? If I am entitled to seniority payments, am I entitled to them personally,

or is this a practice payment?

You are still entitled to seniority payments provided you have enough years of service to qualify, even though you are not paying pension contributions.

The calculation of seniority entitlements requires calculation of your superannuable income fraction, which must be at least two-thirds to qualify for full seniority payments. However, you do not have to be a member of the NHS pensions scheme.

Most practices treat seniority payments as belonging specifically to the individual who qualifies for them.

Paragraph 13.21 (d) of the SFE says 'a contractor who receives a seniority payment in respect of a GP provider must give that payment to that doctor within one calendar month of it receiving that payment'.

However, some practices regard seniority pay as part of the general practice income and apportion the total income in accordance with the provisions of the partnership agreement. This is also permissible.

Dr Christine Dewbury, Wessex LMCs

Seeing private patients after your retirement

I have been told part 18 of the new contract will prevent me from seeing patients

privately when I retire next

year. Is this correct?

No, this is not correct and is based upon a misunderstanding of the implications of part 18. In the draft contract paragraph 465 stated that 'part 18

shall survive the expiry or termination of the contract'.

However, in the final contract this was clarified in paragraph 487. It now makes it quite clear that after the expiry or termination of the contract, you may not directly or indirectly demand or accept payment for the treatment of any patient, under the contract or otherwise, or for a prescription or repeat prescription for any drug, medicine or appliance, that was provided during the existence of the contract.

In other words you cannot retire and subsequently demand payment for services or prescriptions provided while you were still bound by the contract.

It will remain permissible for you to see and prescribe for patients privately once you have retired.

Dr Christine Dewbury, Wessex LMCs

Neither Pulse nor Wessex LMCs can accept any legal liability in respect of the answers given. Readers should seek independent advice before acting on the information concerned.

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