Locum chambers toolkit

The ability of locums in chambers to pension their income

Location: UK
Audience: GPs
Updated: Wednesday 1 May 2024
Topics: Contracts

Locums who are members of Chambers, so long as they are paid directly by a surgery, can superannuate their temporary or deputising GMS/PMS surgery based locum earnings, and also earnings in respect of work undertaken for a ‘classic’ (i.e. GP led) APMS surgery that qualifies as a NHS Pension Scheme Employing Authority.

A freelance GP locum who trades as a limited company cannot ‘pension’ their income.

Long term practice fee based work is type 2 Practitioner work, not GP Locum work, in NHS pension terms.

A GP locum must declare at the outset if they intend to superannuate their income.

In order to superannuate their income a GP locum:

  • Must be on a Medical Performers List and working as an individual
  • Must be deputising, or providing additional cover, in a GP practice on a temporary basis
  • Must be performing appraisal work under a contract for services; i.e. fee based
  • Must send forms A and B and all NHS Pension Scheme contributions to their area team (England) or LHB (Wales) within the 10 week window

A GP locum who wants to superannuate their NHS income must take the following steps:

  1. Obtain forms GP locum A and B and read the guidance notes carefully
  2. Ensure the commissioner (i.e. surgery) completes their part of form A
  3. Ensure that they collect the employer contributions from the commissioner
  4. Forward forms (A and B) and all contributions to their NHS Pension Scheme Employing Authority on time; i.e. no later than the seventh day of the month following the end of the month covered by the form GP locum B

If a GP locum informs a surgery, area team, or LHB that they are going to superannuate their income however it transpires that they do not (for whatever reason), they must return the employer contributions. It is illegal to keep the employer contributions.

GP locums are subject to the same tiered employee contribution rules as other GPs. They must ensure at year end that they have paid the correct tiered rate ‘across the board’. The commissioner (i.e. surgery) must, in law, pay the NHS Pension Scheme employer contributions.

There is no liability on a surgery, area team, or LHB to pay the employer contributions if a GP locum is not superannuating their income.

GP locums are afforded ‘Locum Practitioner’ NHS Pension Scheme status. If they continue to submit forms GP locum A and B will have continuous NHS Pension Scheme membership. If they fail to submit forms GP locum A and B for three calendar months, NHS Pension Scheme membership ceases at the point when they last performed pensionable work. Freelance GP locums are not afforded the same rights in respect of pensionable sick pay, maternity/paternity pay, and life assurance as other GPs.

Freelance GP locums cannot ‘pension’ income in respect of work undertaken for an Independent Provider (IP) even if that IP holds an APMS contract.