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This month, the newsletter has some key information for all sessional GPs so please do share it widely.
Firstly, is the launch of the BMA model locum-practice agreement. This has been a major piece of work and I have personally felt it is a vitally important resource for us to provide. We know that around 40% of locums are not currently working with any written terms and conditions. These are important when agreeing what work you will and won’t do during a booked session for a practice, how much and when you will you be paid, and what happens if you or the practice cancels. While most bookings take place without any problems, we are all aware of instances when a locum hasn’t been paid or they have faced a surgery that hasn’t been booked as agreed. I wanted there to be a gold standard set of terms and conditions to protect locums from all these situations, as well as making clear what responsibility both practices and locums have when working together. The terms and conditions aren’t the lightest read - they are a legal document, and they tick all the essential boxes to define the agreed work and protect both sides. Hopefully the workplan and the explanatory notes that go alongside will help you get to grips with them. Please do read it all together and get in touch with BMA membership services with any questions. The current version applies to England and Wales. Versions for Scotland and Northern Ireland will be published shortly. Remember that any locum using these will be both legally protected and supported in any dispute by the BMA.
Secondly, the final settlement for covering the increased cost of indemnity for 2018/19 has been agreed as part of the 2019/2020 GP contract agreement. This remains at £60m, unchanged from last year, and paid on a per patient basis so the equivalent to £1.005 per patient. Practices and individual GPs will have to discuss how this funding will be distributed. The new contract is far from an easy thing to plough through, so to make it as easy as possible, we have drafted a template letter (attached below). This should make it easy to complete and pass to your practice to start the conversation about receiving the relevant reimbursement for indemnity costs. We hope it will help avoid confusion and make what can be a tricky conversation easier all round. If you run into problems, please talk to your LMC or get in touch with the BMA or your regional sessional subcommittee rep via [email protected]
Lastly, we are aware that there are changes to the NHS pensions regulations from 1 April 2019. Annualising’ (the method of arriving at the employee pension contribution tier payable by GPs in the 2015 scheme) will impact on more members from 1 April, when the concession permitting locums to ignore breaks of 3 months or less is removed. Breaks in pensionable service of any length will now trigger annualising.
As you can imagine my deputy Krishan Aggarwal is working tirelessly to understand what implications this will have and we will provide further guidance when this is clear. Meanwhile, if you haven’t already read his previous pieces on the Capita fiasco, please have a look-they are essential reading for all GPs as he continues to work extremely hard on your behalf.
Zoe Norris is the chair of the GP sessional sub-committee
The payment letter won't help me- my practice believe they negotiated 2 yrs ago with me - that indemnity should be included in my pay (9.5k/session...) so whatever the increase I have to foot the bill. Any tips?
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