Seniority payments will be reduced by 15% a year until they are completely abolished in 2020, under the new GP contract deal for 2014/15.
The payments - worth an extra £8,000 per year for senior GPs - will be continued for those getting them on 31 March 2014, and will then not be given to any new entrants to the scheme from that date.
It is intended that there will be a 15% reduction in spend each year and NHS Employers say that any money released will be ‘reinvested in core funding’.
Accountant Bob Senior chair of the Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants (AISMA) and head of medical services at Baker Tilly, said the change ‘will not go down well’.
He said: ‘The retention for six years for those currently receiving seniority will avoid some senior GPs simply calling it a day now; however, I am not too sure how well it will be regarded by younger partners in a few year’s time.
‘They may well wonder why a senior GP should be receiving an extra £8,000 for effectively doing the same job as them. While they may have been prepared to accept it when they thought that at some point in the future they would be in the senior partner’s position they may not be so accepting in the new arrangements.’
But GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul hailed this as an important concession given ‘the Government has expressed a determination to phase out age related pay progression across the public sector’, but expressed concern about the retention of older doctors.
He said: ‘We recognise that the Government has expressed a determination to phase out age-related pay progression across the public sector, and we remain concerned at how the removal of seniority will affect GP retention.
‘However, we are pleased to have negotiated for these to remain in place for the next six years for those currently receiving them. We have also secured a commitment that all the savings made will be reinvested back into general practice budgets and will not be lost to the profession as a whole.’