The NHS pension scheme as a sessional GP

Guidance for sessional and locum GPs on your pension tier, submitting the right forms to Capita (PCSE) on time and annualisation. 

Location: England Wales
Audience: GPs
Updated: Friday 26 April 2024
Piggybank illustration

This page is updated following deputy chair of the BMA pensions committee Krishan Aggarwal's regular meetings with NHS England, NHS Pensions and Capita (PCSE). This is also a summary of his previous blogs. If there is anything you would like us to cover please email us at [email protected].

You can also find our general pensions guidance for locum GPs.


What pension tier to use

Whether you are a type 1, type 2 or a locum GP it is your responsibility to pay the correct tier.

In relation to your NHS Practitioner roles your pension contribution tier is based on your total income after adding all your pensionable practitioner roles together. You need to apply the same tier for all these roles.

Officer roles do not count towards your tier.

If you hold a Type 1 or Type 2 role the Practice Manager will submit an estimate of your total Practitioner pensionable pay to PCSE at the start of each scheme year.  You need to make sure that the Practice Manager estimates this inclusive of estimated pensionable income from any Out of Hours or GP Locum work you intend to do.  PCSE will deduct contributions from the practice based on this estimate. You should use the same tier for your locum and SOLO work. If you are working solely as a locum you need to set your tier taking into account the impact of annualising (covered later in this document).

If you have underestimated your tier during the year, you would need to ensure that you top this up to the correct tier at the end of the year. If you were to overpay, at the end of the year you would need to claim it back, either from your provider or from Capita (PCSE) depending on your role.

Exclusive GP locums pension their income via forms A and B but are not required to complete an end of year certificate but will still need to ensure that the correct contribution tier has been paid.

GP trainees

GP trainees are officers in the NHS pension scheme. They become Practitioners when they become a GP. When you are an officer, the tier is based on the annualised earnings you earn in the role during the full scheme year (1April to 31 March). In the first year of being a GP, a trainee will not have a full pension year, so they will always be annualised (see below).  Whilst contributions for all members are based on annualised earnings since 1 October 2022 (England and Wales) on becoming a GP these practitioner earnings will still need to be annualised separately.

CCG work / ICB work

The rules for pensioning work undertaken with a CCG have carried over to ICBs. When working for a ICB as a GP you can either be in the officer or practitioner scheme.

If you are employed you are an officer. The ICB will update your pension records and you do not need to declare this income on any PCSE forms.

If you are self-employed, providing contract for services, you are a practitioner and the CCG will need to complete a SOLO form for your pension contributions. You will need to complete a Type 2 form at the end of the scheme year.

If you are solely a locum you are able to pension ICB work undertaken on a self employed basis via the use of SOLO forms.  This provision is back dated for work undertaken for a CCG since 1 April 2014.

Historically many CCGs have been doing this incorrectly and this has many implications. For example, placing someone as an officer when they should have been a practitioner and vice versa. This can affect which tier a GP has been on their employee contributions and therefore have implications on tax.

NHSE are currently reviewing all 193 CCGs whilst ensuring that ICBs are aware of the correct pension rules.


Forms needed

Locum A and B forms

A freelance GP locum can choose to pension their work. If they wish to do so they must complete a locum A and B form and submit.

If you wish to pension the locum work this must be done within 10 weeks of completing the work. Forms submitted outside of this time will not be accepted and work will not be pensioned unless there are exceptional circumstances for the delay.

Locum A and B forms

SOLO forms

These are completed for particular type 2 work by your organisation. Your organisation will ask you to sign the form to check that the values are correct and for you to return. Your organisation will then submit this on your behalf to the relevant body. 

SOLO forms

Type 2 forms

These are required annually by practitioners who have worked as a type 2 during the year, this includes working for a GP Practice as a Salaried GP and work pensioned via a SOLO form.

This is a mechanism for NHS Pensions to ensure that you have paid the correct pension contribution tier across all your pensionable roles. Officer roles are not taken into account. 

Completing the form is a legal requirement of the NHS pension scheme.

Your organisation will have submitted your SOLO form on your behalf. However, completion of the type 2 form is the responsibility of the individual GP.

PCSE/NHS Pensions, however, may not know if you do other pensionable work, so the purpose is to collate it all on one form and apply the correct tier.

You might be concerned that, despite your organisation submitting this data, your record is not up to date. It may be that they have not received your type 2 form and so cannot confirm your tier is correct.

The forms are due to be submitted 11 months after the pension year end, i.e., for any given year the pension year ends on 31 March, the forms will need to be submitted by the following 28 February.

It is important to keep copies of forms completed.

Type 2 forms

Forms are submitted via the PCSE portal.


Who needs to complete a type 2 form

Anyone that is a type 2 GP.

A type 2 GP is:

  • a salaried GP formally employed by a GP surgery, APMS contractor, or a local health board (Wales)
  • a long-term fee-based/self-employed GP who works for a GP surgery, APMS Contractor, or an LHB
  • a GP who works solely for an OOH service either on an employed or self-employed basis
  • a self-employed GP working for an ICB.

If you are not a type 1 GP (principal) or solely a locum you are more than likely a type 2 GP.

The exception is where you may have an officer role. 

Working in England and Wales

If you work in both England and Wales, you will need to send your type 2 form to which ever country you hold the type 2 role in. If you hold a type 2 role in both, you will need to send it to Capita (PCSE) and your local health board.

In Wales you need download the excel form from the NHS pensions website and then submit your Type 2 form to your LHB.

Working in Scotland and Northern Ireland

In Scotland there are no Type 2 forms to submit. See NHS Scotland for guidance on the forms that do need to be submitted.

Northern Ireland uses these forms (HSC Pensions), although there is no deadline and the forms need to be sent to HSC Pension Service "as soon as possible".

Locum GPs

If you are solely a locum you do not need to complete a type 2 form. You only need to do your locum A and B forms.

If you have a type 2 role and locum you will need to add your locum income to the form, as this will form part of your pensionable pay and may change your practitioner tier.

A type 2 form will need to be completed if you have pensioned NHS practitioner income via a SOLO form and not solely via locum forms A and B.


Amnesty form

We negotiated an amnesty for previous years where members may not have completed their forms.

The amnesty form covers from 2009/10 through to 2014/15. The first year these became a requirement was 2009/10. There was no requirement prior to this.

Your NHS pension record can only be updated sequentially, if older years are missing the more recent years cannot be updated. It is therefore more important to complete the oldest forms that you need to do first.

If you have submitted these forms in the past, you do not have to resubmit them. Annualisation does not apply to these forms.

Annualising is only relevant in relation to 2015 scheme membership and every active member of the NHS pension scheme has joined the 2015 scheme on 1 April 2022, further to the McCloud remedy.  Members not in scope of the remedy may have been in the 2015 scheme from 1 April 2015 and will need to annualise since then.  

Amnesty form



Annualisation was brought in from 1 April 2015 and applies only to members of the 2015 NHS pension scheme.

In the 1995 and 2008 NHS pension scheme, the tier you pay is based on your actual pensionable earnings. This is no longer the case for those who transitioned into the 2015 scheme (all active members since 1 April 2022).

As a result of annualising your income you are expected to pay a pension contribution rate determined by the amount of income you would have earned over the whole scheme year. If you have Type 1 or Type 2 roles for the whole year than you will not need to annualise. If you are solely a GP locum then only the days which you actually work count as pensionable service and unless this is for the entire pension scheme year you will need to annualise you income. It is the annualised rate and not the actual rate which will determine the pension contribution tier.

This is essentially a regulation that will result in certain members having to tier their pension contributions at a higher rate based on their annualised earnings rather than their actual earnings. This is dependent on if you have taken breaks within the pension scheme year (1 April to 31 March).

Annualising rules changed in 2019. In addition to this, the updated regulations remove the one month concession for type 1 and type 2 GPs and remove the three month concession for locum GPs.

Previously, the rules would annualise locum GP roles separated from other GP roles and then add them together. The new rules allow you to add all your pensionable roles together and then annualise.

If you were adversely affected by the old rules of annualisation, you can go back and resubmit your forms for those years and claim a refund. 

If you are happy with the previous calculations or just simply do not want to, NHS Pensions have advised you do not need to resubmit the forms.

The BMA has never agreed to the practice of annualisation and we disagree with the way that the regulations are being interpreted and applied. We continue to lobby against this unfair regulation.

If you are in scope of the McCloud remedy your service for the remedy period (1 April 2015 to 31 March 2022) will be rolled back to your legacy scheme (1995/2008 section) and a refund of excess contributions paid as a result of the mechanism of annualising will be due to you net of tax relief and interest. 

This refund can be deferred until a choice is made at retirement as to where the remedy service will accrue.  If a refund is taken but at retirement the reformed 2015 scheme is chosen for the remedy period the refunded contributions will become due again.

Part-time workers

Type 1 and type 2 GPs who are in a contract for the whole year will not be annualised, even if you are part time.

For example, a GP is a partner/salaried one day a week from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020. They are not annualised despite working one day a week.

If their contract is not for the whole pension year, then they will be annualised. Any break between contracts will also lead to annualisation.

It is mainly locums who are affected by annualisation.

To continue with an example like the above, if a GP were to work in a practice as a locum one day a week, under a locum arrangement, they would be annualised.

Should I pension all my locum work?

If you are a sole locum, the more days you are in the scheme, the lesser the impact of annualisation will be because a GP is annualised over 365 days.


Workaround one

If a locum GP were to pick up an OOH session, they become a type 2 GP. As long as this role is pensionable and the SOLO form is completed for the whole year, then the GP would be removed from annualisation. You should do at least one hour in April and the following March to ensure the SOLO form spans the whole year.

Workaround two

If you do a locum session for a practice on a particular day you would normally complete the locum A form to state that you have worked the single day.

However, if the practice may need to contact you and you would need to make yourself available either by phone or email for the next week, you can include those additional ‘administrative’ planned days on your locum A form.

You may wish to include this in your fee for the original day, at no extra cost to the practice. The advantage would be that the practice may be able to contact you to discuss a patient you have seen and you would be removed from annualisation for the period that the locum A form covers.

You should agree this in advance with the practice in case the worst happens.

Where a GP (including a freelance GP locum) dies and therefore cannot complete their pension forms, their legal personal representatives must complete the forms. NHS Pensions would obviously assist with the delicate process.

Workaround three

If you were to locum at a particular practice for a long period, you and the practice may regard you as a type 2 GP. They would administer your pension contributions for you as they would for a salaried GP. This would remove the effect of annualisation if you work a full year.

To do this the practice needs to add you to their ‘Estimate form’ and resubmit it to ensure that pension contributions are taken from the practice for your work. You are then required to complete a Type 2 form at the end of the year.  

Your TRS (total rewards statement)

As your NHS pensions record is updated sequentially, you should complete the oldest forms you are required to do first, so that your TRS can be updated. GPs cannot currently access a TRS and a pension portal (myNHSpension) is being worked on to allow members to see their service, pay and pension accrual details. 

If you have not received log in details for this please see the NHS guidance.  

When your TRS will be updated

The purpose of the 28 February date is that it would usually allow the forms to be processed and your TRS be updated in August of the same year. Any forms that are not updated should be updated in the December update to TRS.

The TRS is therefore updated 18 to 22 months after the pension year end.

For example, for the year ending 31 March 2019, the type 2 form will need to have been submitted by 28 February 2020 and the TRS will be updated in August or December 2020.

If your TRS is blank

There are two points to note here. First, the records need to be sequential, thus if a previous years records are missing, TRS cannot be updated beyond that.

Second, if TRS is not up to date it does not mean that your pension record is not.

There are many reasons why your TRS may not be up to date. If you have added years for example, TRS will not be updated and you can contact NHS pensions for a copy of your record.

The TRS has been recently updated to include statements for those that have added years.


Submitting forms and money

Submitting money

When submitting your monies please use:

  • the reference number, that we designed, of your SD number
  • followed by LOC for locum work
  • followed by the month in the three characters
  • followed by the year in two characters.

For example someone with an SD number of 12345678 submitting their locum forms in October would use 12345678LOCOct20.

We are unable to share NHS England’s bank details - you can get them from PCSE’s customer support centre on 0333 014 2884.

Submitting forms

Forms are currently submitted via the PCSE portal. The portal allows you to see your pension record for the previous six years and the current year. This will help you to identify any gaps in your record.

Once PCSE have processed your forms, they update NHS Pensions where the final record is kept. There has been no change to how your pension is processed in the devolved nations.

We have had repeated assurance from NHS England that no individual will be disadvantaged due to the processing by PCSE of an individual’s pension, i.e., that monies paid to your pension are safe even if they have not been processed correctly at present.

Always keep a copy/evidence of all forms and monies that you send to Capita (PCSE) just in case you are required to provide them as evidence in the future.

Issues with PCSE

If your case is closed

PCSE should not be closing cases until a matter is resolved. If PCSE request further information, it should be possible to use the same reference number. If this is not the case please let us know at [email protected].


If you have a complaint with PCSE, you need to raise it with PCSE in the first instance at [email protected] and, if needed, contact us at [email protected].

If your complaint has not been fully resolved within 40 working days, then you can escalate it to NHS England at [email protected].

NHSE are conducting a holistic review of the pension records to identify any gaps in records.



We held a webinar on the NHS pension scheme for sessional GPs in February 2021.

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