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Around 1,500 GP practices to reimburse NHS England for seniority payments

Around 1,500 GP practices to reimburse NHS England for seniority payments

Around 1,500 GP practices are due a pay deduction in June as NHS England seeks to reclaim millions of pounds of seniority payments.

The commissioner has been undertaking a ‘reconciliation exercise’ for seniority payments, to claim back £28m it has ‘overpaid’ GPs over the years, with some practices potentially being asked to repay thousands of pounds.  

But the adjustments may relate to GP partners who have now retired, left the practice, or are deceased, or to practices that have now closed or merged, which the BMA warned could complicate matters.

The union said that the process was delayed ‘because of the need for further validation exercise’ but has now been undertaken for ‘all but a very small number of practices’ for payments in the financial years 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20.

While around 1,500 practices are due a deduction, just under 1,000 will receive a positive adjustment, according to the BMA.  

As a result of the validation, the figure practices will now receive – which may be either positive or negative – could be different to the figure they received in October last year, the BMA warned.

In an update, GPC England deputy chair Dr Julius Parker said: ‘The intention is to balance practice payments in the June contract payment run. Across England approximately 1,500 practices are due a deduction, and just under 1,000 practices will receive a positive adjustment.’

The GPCE also said that NHS England will be in touch with affected practices about repayments for the 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16 and 2016/17 financial years, although any adjustments related to these years ‘are likely to be smaller in absolute terms’ and there is currently no date for this to take place.

NHS England – via Primary Care Support England (PCSE) – is making special arrangements for practices who believe a one-off financial deduction in June would ‘place their practice at risk of financial hardship’.

Practices in this situation were asked to complete the request for a payment plan to be set up by PCSE for the remaining 10 months of the financial year (June 2024 to March 2025) in which the total deduction will be subdivided into 10 equal monthly deductions.

The payment plan will be forwarded to ICBs and practices contacted if their ICB considers such a repayment plan is unnecessary.

Dr Parker added: ‘However, it is difficult to understand any ICB drawing this conclusion. LMCs are recommended to advise ICBs that if they have any queries about an individual practice’s repayment plans they should urgently contact the practice and their LMC. PCSE has also confirmed it will not make a June deduction if a dispute has been raised.’

The union also said that NHS England recognised that there may be ‘some scepticism’ about the revised figures.

‘This is a complicated exercise as the total figure sent to practices is an aggregate one, covering all partners at the practice entitled to receive seniority payments during the three years involved, and this may include both positive and negative adjustments,’ Dr Parker said.

The GPCE also said it does not believe current practices should be contacted about practices which have closed, and patients dispensed to re-register elsewhere.

It recommended that practice accountants are informed of the information received from PCSE.

Dr Parker added: ‘Obviously, past partners can be contacted, but this needs to be a value-for-money exercise as some adjustments (whether positive or negative) are small, in absolute terms, and may not justify a complicated accountancy exercise.

‘Current partners can certainly inform previous partners (including partners of a then different practice if a merger has occurred) of the information they have received from PCSE.

‘If a partner has died, then this may be a more sensitive exercise in terms of contracting the beneficiaries of their estate. If this isn’t possible, PCSE should be informed.’

Seniority payments were made to principal GPs in recognition of their years of NHS reckonable service. The scheme closed to new applicants on the 1 April, 2014 and the last payments were made at the end of March 2020. 



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Michael Mullineux 22 April, 2024 3:44 pm

This process is inscrutable as it stands. We simply received a notification on 12/4 apologising us for the lengthy delay in arriving at a figure with 2 weeks to appeal with no effort to illustrate how it was arrived at. The problem is PCSE (alias CAPITA) have form and often (make that usually!) get their calculations wrong. Why do partners/ex partners have to put up with this? If we owe money, happy to pay up. But what happened to ‘showing the workings?’

Julius Parker 22 April, 2024 5:41 pm

Excellent point Michael; if you use this link you will find, under the first question that is listed, an on-line form on which you can request details as to which GPs and in which years the figures apply

Barry Sullman 22 April, 2024 5:51 pm

I don’t think they are entitled to do this. First, the payments were a mutual mistake and are considered binding in English Law. Second, they are over six years old and expire under the six-year limit under the statute of limitations. Third, holding a current partnership responsible for a payment made to an individual cannot be right.

John Glasspool 23 April, 2024 8:46 am

Ah! Crapita eh? Receivers of much government largesse, despite lamentable performance. One wonders why?

Michael Mullineux 23 April, 2024 11:34 am

Thanks JP, I have already raised a query with PCSE whilst simultaneously requesting deferred payments

Richard Greenway 23 April, 2024 6:25 pm

Meanwhile consultant doctors are being awarded a pay rise with escalation applied to seniority. This might help GP retentention. Clawing this back will have the opposite effect.

David Jarvis 26 April, 2024 9:47 am

My annoyance with seniority was that to qualify for it rather than look at full or part time they looked at income against average. This meant a GP full time in a low income practice would have their seniority reduced. But this was delayed by knowing your own profits and what average profits were. So got paid and then clawed back. So low income practices were actually punished and in a delayed manner. I am also peed off that just as I got to a meaningful level they got rid of it. Based on age and sex discrimination but it is OK for the consultant contract to get increments. I am more and more convinced that collapsing the NHS by trashing primary care is actually the plan. The annoyance for the government being that GP’s keep bloody going in a fleet footed manner like cockroaches. I have outlasted a number of governments and earned more than MP’s. Sod em.