Locum GP employer’s contribution is being transferred to practice global sums

Following the news earlier this week that, from 1st April 2013, practices will be taking on the administration of the employer's NHS superannuation contribution in England, NASGP sought to urgently clarify the situation regarding any change to who will be funding this contribution. 

And we're relieved to hear that the news from Department of Health is not as bad as first anticipated:

I can confirm that it is also proposed that the funding for Locum GP employer contributions that is currently held by Primary Care Trusts, will transfer to GP Practice 'Global Sums' with effect from April next year.

The commissioning GP practices who engage a locum GP will therefor be liable for the employer's contribution, but they can be assured in the knowledge that the funding for this has been transferred into their global sum already. This is mentioned in the extract from the Consultation Document:

Extract from Consultation Document issued with the draft April 2013 Amendment Regulations on 20 November 2012

Locum practitioners

At present, where a GMS, PMS or APMS contractor employs a "locum practitioner" (as defined in 1995 regulation A2, and the 2008 equivalent), employer contributions for the locum are paid by the relevant PCT or Local Health Board (“the host Trust or Board”), rather than the practice itself.

This is in contrast to the superannuation arrangements for other persons employed by a primary medical care contractor, where they must pay the employer contributions on behalf of its NHSPS members, whether they be employed practice staff, salaried general medical practitioners (GPs) or are the GP contractor/provider(s) themselves.

In the case of a single-handed practice, that sole contractor is responsible for the payment of both their own employer and employee contributions and the employer contributions in respect of practitioners and practice staff they employ. In the case of a practice partnership, the contracting partners are liable for payment of both their own employer and employee contributions and the employer contributions in respect of practitioners and practice staff they employ, by reference to their agreed practice partnership shares.

Whilst the NHS Commissioning Board will assume the role of PCTs in contracting for primary medical care services, it is proposed that it will not pay the employer contributions for locum practitioners as PCTs currently do. Instead, it is intended that this responsibility be transferred to primary medical care contractors, to bring these arrangements into line with those of other practice employees.

Alongside this transfer of responsibilities, the Department also proposes to separately transfer the cost of employers’ locum superannuation into General Medical Services (GMS) Global Sum payments. This would mean that those contractors operating under the national GMS contract would have the responsibility for paying these costs and the funding for them.

There will of course be an extra workload for practice managers, and we'll be working with our colleagues at the Department of Health and NHS Pensions where we can to make this as easy and as straightforward as possible.

5 Responses

  1. What does that mean for PMS practices?
  2. Sorry, am I missing something here? But does it mean all practices irrespective of their use of locums get a payment via GMS or do practices have to reclaim it?
  3. That's just what I was going to ask. What does it mean for PMS practices?
  4. If the funding is really going down to individual practice level, I think it will act as a disincentive for practices to employ locums. So far they've been able to have locums on the basis that PCTs pay the employers' contribution (even if that money was previousy top-sliced from overall GMS/PMS income). In this new scenario, surely practices will just keep the money and manage by themselves.
    • katztemistyk
      I am really concerned about this. Practice managers are already pushed to their limits with extra work, this will be a complete disincentive to hiring locums. It also creates a level of chaos in the system, especially if one is working at 3-4 practices/month, and having to monitor whether the contributions including AVCs have actually been sent by the PMs. Since the contributions vary each month as to how many locums have been hired, how are practices to be adequately reimbursed via the global sum. Hopefully these issues will be clarified asap
  5. [...] the full details are very thin on the ground. The National Association of Sessional GPs has been keeping a close eye on this, and the latest reports suggest that each practice may be [...]

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