Locums lose hours on pensions paperwork after PCSE portal fails, drops auto-fill forms

2nd July 2021 by NASGP

Locums lose hours on pensions paperwork after PCSE portal fails, drops auto-fill forms

GP locums have sounded the alarm after losing hours of work in PCSE’s new pensions portal.

PCSE have launched a new online portal, including a facility for locums and practices to process Form As and Form Bs, but errors in the system have left NASGP members fuming.

One doctor spent 45 minutes in the portal, only to be faced with the message: “Something went wrong [sic] Please contact IT Support for further help.”

“I had already done it twice. Neither way seems to work, and now I can’t get the previous online enquiry form to work either,” the GP said. “We are manually inputting data into an online form that was previously automatically populated for us… I am fuming.”

The same member also warned that she’d also witnessed the data breaches on the system that NASGP reported on last week.

“When you try and search for yourself with your GMC number it brings up everyone else too with their NHSPS number and name/GMC,” she said.

Another locum said she lost hours trying to upload a Form B.

“It’s an unmitigated disaster,” she said. “I spoke to the helpline guy who thanked me for not shouting at him as apparently he’d been getting a lot of flack from multiple GPs who were having as much trouble as me. I tried to raise a query and upload my form that way but that didn’t work either…. It’s appalling.”

Locums said PCSE’s errors had put them off the NHS pension altogether.

“The stress of pensions as a locum was causing me so much anxiety I stopped paying two years ago,” one locum said. “I still have the pain of getting all the historical info to match up as there are no statements available… I can not believe they are allowed to get away with this.”

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, chair of NASGP, said: “We welcome PCSE’s recognition of the long overdue need to improve the locum pension form process. But unfortunately, this new system does not appear to have been designed with input from those actually using it. Nor has PCSE consulted with organisations like NASGP who have already successfully implemented end-to-end automated pension processes.

“Even if it were working correctly, the new PCSE system not only adds more steps into the process, but also breaks the connection locums have with existing invoicing and accounts packages.

“GP locums deserve better, and should not have to be dealing with an online pension platform that has all the charm and charisma of a sulky teenager who’s lost their wi-fi connection.

“PCSE must now apologise for its errors and GPs’ wasted time, and work to restore locums’ confidence in this essential system.”

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"I rely on the NASGP for advice and support. I use LocumDeck for all my locum admin -my profile, certificates, Ts and Cs, practice contacts, booking and invoicing sessions, pension A and B forms, recording mileage and other expenses and monthly earnings.

Having been a locum in the past without LocumDeck, I realise how much easier LocumDeck makes my life, especially as I don't enjoy admin. It automates much of the admin for me. I can see at a glance how many bookings I have and where the gaps are. I have some practices who instant book me - booking directly into free sessions I have added. I have income/expenditure spreadsheets to share with my accountant.

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Dr Susannah Denny

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