GP locum and the NHS pensions: four dilemmas

14th March 2022 by Liz Densley and Abi Newbury, Honey Barrett

GP locum and the NHS pensions: four dilemmas

Under the NHS Pension Scheme regulations GP locums, who are freelance self-employed workers, are entitled to join the NHS Pension Scheme. While pensioning your locum income sounds simple enough, you do need to understand the rules to avoid some potential issues before you retire.

“I’m a salaried GP and do some freelance locum work. Do I have to make pension contributions for my locum work?”

If a GP carries out both salaried and freelance work, theoretically they must pension all or nothing. There is, however, a 10-week time limit on paying over the contributions on freelance work. If the deadline is missed, the income cannot be pensioned. This effectively means that a locum can choose not to pension their freelance work.

The 10-week time limit was removed during Covid-19 and locums wishing to pension their income have been allowed to submit their Locum A pension forms late. The 10-week rule will be reinstated from 1 Oct 2022, NHS BSA says, so any late forms need to be submitted by then.

“I work through an intermediary. Can I pension that income?”

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More advice for starting out with the NHS Pension Scheme as a GP locum

"I first found LocumDeck when looking to help retain GP locums in the area. I have since moved my own practice in my final years to work as a locum. I was so impressed with the ease of booking and control it gives. Ease of billing, help with NHS pension contributions, and end of tax year summaries are an enormous bonus for GP locums.
"As an NASGP Locum Chambers member I am supported as a GP locum in a way that would not be possible otherwise. Frimley Locum Hub is very supportive group of GPs and I know of several GP locums who have remained in the area because of the services it provides. I understand in the Frimley area that the number of whole time equivalent GPs working via the NASGP model is substantial and provides a very real and tangible part of the total GP workforce. The fact that the service is fully-funded at present is a key reason why GP locums use the service. "

Dr Mick Watts, GP locum, Frimley

Dr Mick Watts, GP locum, Frimley

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