Locum GPs could be eligible for a Government grant of up to £7,500 to cover lost earnings due to Covid-19, the BMA has announced.
Last month, the Government unveiled plans to extend the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), allowing self-employed individuals to claim for a grant of up to £7,500.
If locums have seen their income impacted through February, March and April by the pandemic, they may be eligible to apply for the grant – which opens in late April and closes on 1 June – the BMA said in a GP bulletin.
To be eligible, locums must have traded in both the 2019/2020 tax year, submitting a tax return on or before 2 March 2021, and 2020/2021.
Last year, Pulse reported that the pandemic has seen locums plunged into financial difficulties, with some forced to claim state benefits.
A Pulse survey also found that almost 70% of GP partners said that despite patient demand increasing, they would be offering less locum work than pre-Covid levels.
It comes as the BMA has warned that salaried and locum GPs must not feel pressured by practices to volunteer to support vaccination clinics ‘on a goodwill basis’, after receiving a series of reports of such incidents.
BMA sessional GP Committee chair Dr Ben Molyneux told Pulse: ’If people choose to do it, that’s fine. But there should never be any pressure applied.’
He added: ’Where we find a problem is if a business model of delivering model of delivering vaccines relies on volunteers, because if those volunteers dry up, the vaccination schedule is put at risk.’
In March, NHS England was forced to clarify a clause in its locum bank framework that would have allowed GP practices to cancel locums on the day without facing a short-notice cancellation fee.
And GP locums in Wales were told last month that they will not be indemnified by the state unless they join a staff bank.