Pensions ‘traps’ put sessional GP income at risk, BMA pensions committee chair warns

29th January 2021 by NASGP

Pensions ‘traps’ put sessional GP income at risk, BMA pensions committee chair warns

Pensions problems put sessional GPs at risk of losing hundreds of thousands of pounds, the BMA pensions committee chair warned this week.

Vishal Sharma, BMA pensions committee chair, highlighted ‘less than full-time work’ and parental leave – two of the key concerns for many sessional GPs. 

The talk was organised to particularly address women in medicine, who may be disproportionately affected by pensions issues following career breaks for parental leave. 

Sharma advised attendees that the BMA felt it was ‘completely inappropriate’ for GPs in Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE) schemes to pay more per £1 of pension if they were part-time, compared with full-time. The BMA continues to lobby on the issue and they will call for contributions to be based on actual, rather than FTE or annualised, pay after next year. 

Sharma used a GP locum case study to explain how this practice puts massive financial pressure on sessional GPs. 

A GP locum working two days a week in the 2015 scheme might earn £42,000 PA, but pays 14.5% pension contributions on an annualised pay of £182,5000 – despite the fact she’s only accruing a pension based on £42,000. 

The chair of the meeting, Dr Helena McKeown, told attendees that her pension ‘got very complicated’ when she changed from GP partnership to GP locum work.

Last year the BMA accused Capita, the company responsible for Primary Care Support England, of making a number of mistakes, including processing errors, incorrect payments or records, and incorrect employer contribution deductions.

You can watch the talk in full on the BMA’s YouTube channel.

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