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A few months ago I wrote to you about death in service benefits for locums – you may have been aware of some high-profile cases where locum GPs have died and their families have not been awarded the death in service benefits that were expected by the NHS pensions agency. This has been an issue for a long time, and centres around the fact that because locum doctors are not always working on a fixed or regular contract, they may not be entitled to the same degree of death in service benefit as employed GPs.
We want to get an answer to this as we think locums should have the same entitlement. With that in mind, we are looking to take forward a test case to get a definitive answer to this issue and get it sorted once and for all.
By the very nature of the role, there is no typical work pattern that applies to locum GPs. This means that, there is no one test claimant that will cover all GP locums. So, what is required is a group of test claimants that cover the majority of the working pattern characteristics as they apply to the NHS Pension Scheme Regulations.
I have previously called for test claimants who have a short-term (under six months) agreement with a practice and who are paying into the NHS pension scheme – and many thanks to those of you who have come forward.
However, to complement the test claimants who have a more erratic work pattern, it would be helpful to include a test claimant with more stable working arrangements. The silhouette of that claimant would ideally be someone who:
This type of work pattern would often be found where a locum is providing maternity cover.
Whether or not you are contracted to work for a specific period, we would like to hear from you – your circumstances may be helpful as a test claimant in any event.
Please contact us at [email protected]
I will keep you updated on progress.
Zoe Norris is chair of the sessional GPs subcommittee
thank you for your action here.
I am already receiving my pension, although I continue to work as a locum part-time, so I do not think I can be useful as a claimant (but do let me know if I can!).
However, I would point out that continuous employment with the NHS is lost after a hiatus of 3 months (hopefully I am right on this) so that should be the criteria for the loss of death in service benefits - not that one has no running contract. At times I do not have any enduring arrangements, just do odd days via rLocums (which is not a third party, just a booking portal). Currently I do a regular day at a practice, on the understanding that it may end anytime if I am no longer needed (and I am happy with that).
hope this is helpful.
J Calinas Correia