NHS Pensions has confirmed that the ‘10-week rule’ for pension forms has been suspended for 2021/22, due to current pressures on the GP profession.
A spokesperson advised: “The NHS Business Services Authority (NHS Pensions) has confirmed that the freelance GP locum ‘10 week rule’ in respect of submitting pension forms has been suspended for year 2021/22 due to current Covid related pressures on the GP profession.”
NASGP reported on the relaxation of NHS pension form deadlines last spring. This week NHS Business Admin Services confirmed that the 10-week rule would be relaxed for another year with Covid-19 pressures ongoing, with this being confirmed in writing on the upcoming GP locum Form A and Bs for 2021/2022, embedded into LocumDeck.
For GP locums, this means that the NHS Pensions, part of NHS BAS, service will not demand receipt of Form A and B paperwork within ten weeks of a session.
Last year we heard from members that some practices were struggling to pay within old timeframes, given the extra pressure. We contacted NHS BAS to ask for advice; they then relaxed the rules.
In April 2020, a spokesperson told us:
“Although the [2020/21 freelance GP locum Forms A and B] and guidance state that GP locum work that is more than 10 weeks old cannot be ‘pensioned’ this rule is being temporarily removed during the current Coronavirus pandemic to give GP locums more time to complete their forms. The removal of the ’10 week window’ takes effect from 1 April 2020 until further notice. This means that, for example, a freelance GP locum can declare work performed in April 2020 on their August 2020 Form B subject to the Form A being validated at the time. NHS England/PCSE and Local Health Boards in Wales have been made aware of this.
“In addition, during the current pandemic there is no need for the commissioning Practice to enter the ‘Practice stamp’ at Part 2 of Form A so long as the name of the Practice is entered and the form is signed and dated. A digital/electronic signature is acceptable.
“With effect from 1 April 2020 where a freelance GP locum has overpaid their monthly NHS Pension Scheme contributions they will not be reimbursed if the amount is less than £1.00. Similarly if they have underpaid an amount of less than £1.00 they will not be required to pay the shortfall.”