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 fell into a salaried role post-CCT, so faced with an unexpected relocation to a completely new area of the country the thought of GP locuming was incredibly daunting.

The assistance I have received from NASGP has been invaluable. I have received excellent and patient admin support when setting up my LocumDeck account. I have enjoyed the monthly chambers meetings I have attended: this made locuming feel far less isolating.

I have easily found plentiful work and am grateful for the invoicing and pension forms being taken care of – this gives me time to focus on the clinical work or make the most of precious days off.

With the support of NASGP Locum Chambers I have filled my diary working in a variety of practices in my new area, and have now joined one practice I enjoyed locuming at on a salaried basis while I continue to do some locum work on top using LocumDeck."

Dr Joanne Wright, GP, Essex

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