There are three active formal definitions of a locum GP, depending on your aspect. They are not exclusive i.e. being one does not exclude another.
- Employment law
- Tax status with HMRC
- NHS pension scheme
This advice deals exclusively with the NHS pension scheme definition.
From advice direct to NASGP from NHSBA:
Locums cannot be classed as Locums [in respect the the NHS pension scheme] if they work at a practice for more than 6 months, however even if they are at a practice for more than 6 months they can remain as self employed contractors ie they do not have to go on the payroll and the practice do not have to offer them a contract of service. They would still invoice the practice for sessions/shifts done and then the GP SOLO form would be completed and sent instead of the Locum forms.
If a Locum works at a practice for more than 6 months then they should no longer complete locum forms A & B but should then complete SOLO forms for any period beyond the 6 months. They will then be classed as a Type 2 practitioner and this is better for them in pension terms because they will be covered for death in service 24/7 whereas Locums are only covered whilst working.
If you locum at a GP practice for more than 6 months then you can no longer be classed as a locum (for NHS superannuation purposes) in that practice, and would have to become a Type 2 GP.
According to the NHSBA Locum Factsheet (September 2016):
After six months of working in the same practice:
"You can still work under a contract for services arrangement; your surgery is not legally obliged to employ you under a contract of service."
And according to the NHSBA Form GP SOLO (April 2016):
"[Form GP SOLO applies] to NHSPS Employing Authorities including OOH Providers and CCGs who engage the services of GPs on a self-employed/fee-based/contract for services arrangement."
You will then be able to pension 100% of the fee paid as opposed to 90%.