BMA chairman Dr Mark Porter urged health secretary Jeremy Hunt to reverse the decision to make practices responsible for paying employer's superannuation contributions on behalf of locums, which took effect from 1 April.
In a letter to the health secretary on 18 April, Dr Porter said England’s area teams and health boards in Wales should return to paying the contributions because the change had put practices ‘in a very difficult position’.
‘Although it is only a few weeks since the changes, we have been made aware of dozens of cases where locum GPs are having their fees cut because practice funding is insufficient to cover employer pension contributions,’ he said.
‘For example, a part-time locum contacted us to say that the single-handed GMS practice she works for is cutting her fee to take account of the 14% employer pension contributions. A GP in another practice told us his practice funding was not sufficient to cover the pension costs and as a result he was very concerned he might, in future, only be able to employ GPs who are no longer making pension contributions.
‘We have made it clear that we would expect practices to cover this cost, without seeking to recoup payment through reducing locum fees, while we seek to resolve this problem.
‘The impact of the change is having unintended consequences which could lead to a distortion of the GP locum workforce.’