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Locums may still get full death-in-service benefits, says GPC

Government to meet with Treasury about GP pension concerns

Exclusive A temporary contract arrangement for locum GPs that would see them qualify for full death-in-service benefits could still on the cards, Pulse has learned.

The contract, which remains with the Treasury for sign-off, would ensure locum GPs are eligible for more than just the one-off £60,000 payout announced by the Government this week, the BMA told Pulse.

Sessional GP Committee chair Dr Ben Molyneux said that the BMA and NHS England have agreed that ‘it would be helpful’ for a temporary contract to be available for locum GPs at a national or regional level.

However, locums have been left in ‘limbo’ because the Treasury has not yet released the funding to enable this, Dr Molyneux said.

He told Pulse: ‘Unfortunately, locums have been left in a bit of a limbo situation in that they might want to access temporary employment to gather death-in-service benefits, but NHS England hasn’t been able to provide that.

‘Funding for that was required from the Treasury and they’ve been sitting on a decision about various elements of Covid funding for five weeks plus now.’

The contract would see locums employed continuously with a ‘low’ minimum working hour requirement to offer ‘flexibility’, he added.

The BMA is ‘still pushing for an announcement from the Treasury to release this funding’ and end the current ‘two-tier system’, Dr Molyneux said.

He said: ‘Whilst [the one-off payout] is welcome for locums who wouldn’t get anything otherwise, there’s still an inequity and we still want the Government to re-consider that.’

The BMA has provided an ‘off-the-shelf template contract’ for local areas to use in the interim, Dr Molyneux added.

The BMA has been campaigning for death-in-service rights for locums for some time, last week writing to the Chancellor for a second time urging him to ensure that all NHS staff are granted full death-in-service benefits regardless of whether they are in the pension scheme.