GP locum pension costs deal agreed for PMS practices

The employers' superannuation funding for GP locums will be covered for PMS practices in the same way as for GMS after a year of uncertainty, the GPC has revealed.

Dr Richard Vautrey: PMS practices to receive long-overdue locum superannuation support
Dr Richard Vautrey: PMS practices to receive long-overdue locum superannuation support

The pension payments, previously covered by PCTs, became the responsibility of practices in April. While the imposed 2013/14 contract agreed funding arrangements for GMS GPs, practices on PMS contracts have been left to cover the cost themselves while waiting for NHS England to decide how they would be reimbursed.

The GPC said it understands NHS England told area teams on Monday that following the review of PMS contracts, due to report within weeks, they should hand PMS practices extra funding in line with the amount GMS practices receive to cover employers superannuation funding for locums. The funding will be backdated to April 2013.

Deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said the decision followed pressure from GPC. ‘We're glad that PMS practices are now to get what has been long overdue,' he said.

GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul told GP in July it was ‘inexplicable’ that the government had been unable to resource practices on equivalent terms.

He said: ‘PMS practices to date are paying locum superannuation in full without the recompense that is going to GMS.’

NHS England confirmed to GP this week that its national review of PMS funding, which could strip millions of pounds from practices, would report in ‘about a month’. 

The review, launched in June as part of the process of equalising GP contracts, will determine whether money paid to PMS practices above and beyond GMS funding is effectively core pay or enhanced service funding.

Payments for core services are likely to be redistributed among practices, but anything deemed effectively equivalent to an enhanced services payment could be withdrawn.

The GPC has warned the review into how to equalise funding across contracts could cost PMS practices thousands of pounds and strip £200m from general practice.

GP locum rates 2012/13: Keep up to date with locum rates across the UK at Medeconomics.co.uk.

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