Falling superannuable incomes means that some GPs will be entitled to higher seniority payments for 2009/10, official figures reveal.
Figures from the NHS Information Centre show seniority payments will be based on declared superannuable incomes of £93,678 for England and £82,266 for Wales for 2009/10.
The figures mark a drop on the interim figures used to calculate seniority payments, based on the previous year, which for 2009/10 were £94,743 for England and £84,667 for Wales.
The GPC said the drop would mean that around 1% of GP principals would be owed money from their primary care organisation (PCO).
A GP receives 100% of the available seniority payment - based on their years of service - if they earn more than two-thirds of the national average superannuable income in any year.
A GP earning between one third and two-thirds of the national average superannuable income receives 60% of the available seniority payment and those earning less than this receive nothing.
Deputy chair of the GPC pensions subcommittee Dr David Bailey said that the drop compared to the interim figures reflected falling incomes.
He told Pulse: ‘The interim figures are based on previous year and used to make payments in year. The drop reflects falling incomes and will mean that a few GPs in each country will be owed money by their PCO, [however] probably less than 1% of GP principals.’
The final seniority factors are calculated once data from GP tax returns has been collected from the HMRC and the average superannuable income from GPs is known. They are published by the Technical Steering Committee, which includes representatives from the GPC, NHS Employers and the health departments for England and Wales.
For 2008/09, the final seniority figures were £92,955 for England and £79,096 for Wales.
For GMS contractor GPs:
2009/10 Average superannuable income = £99,589
2009/10 Average seniority payment = £5,911
2009/10 Final Seniority Figure = £93,678
2009/10 Interim Seniority Figure = £94,743
2009/10 Average superannuable income = £88,002
2009/10 Average seniority payment = £5,736
2009/10 Final Seniority Figure = £82,266
2009/10 Interim Seniority Figure = £84,667
Source: NHS Information Centre