The ’10-week window’ for GP locums to pension work has been temporarily removed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Guidance published on the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) website said the rules were relaxed to give GP locums more time to complete their forms.
NHSBSA confirmed to Pulse that this rule has been suspended until 31 March 2021 and arrangements from April 2021 onwards would be confirmed ‘in due course’.
The process of pensioning requires a GP locum to complete part one of ‘GP Locum Form A’ once they have completed their commissioned work. This states the locum’s details, the number of days worked and a signature. This form is then sent to the commissioning body along with an invoice.
Part two of form A, which details the GP’s fee, pensionable pay and employer contributions, is then completed by the commissioning body – usually marked with a practice stamp.
The GP locum then completes a second form – ‘GP Locum Form B’ – to record all their pensionable pay in that calendar month. Forms A and B should then be sent to PCSE who submits the data to NHS Pensions.
Normally, GP locums cannot pension work that is more than 10 weeks old.
However, the new rules mean that a GP locum can declare work performed in April 2020 on their August GP Locum Form B, as long as Form A was validated at the time.
The new relaxed rules mean that the practice does not need to enter a practice stamp on part two of Form A, as long as the practice name is entered and a digital signature is recorded.
The NHSBSA update said: ‘Although the forms and guidance state that GP locum work that is more than 10 weeks old cannot be “pensioned” this rule is being temporarily removed during the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to give GP locums more time to complete their forms.
‘The removal of the “10 week window” takes effect from 1 April 2020.’
It comes after some locum GPs have been forced to claim state benefits after struggling to find work in the pandemic due to reduced patient demand for GP services.