GPs call for quick payment as PMS pensions deal agreed

Senior GPs have called for swift payment after NHS England confirmed employers' superannuation funding for locums will be covered for PMS practices in the same way as for GMS.

Dr Simon Bradley: PMS locum payments must be prompt (photo: Pete Hill)

GP reported last week that GPC was confident its demands for equal treatment of practices would be met.

In a letter to area teams published on Wednesday NHS England director of commissioning (corporate) Ann Sutton, and director of commissioning policy and primary care Ben Dyson, said the payments would be backdated to April 2013.

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.

Derbyshire LMC secretary Dr John Grenville said the quicker locum superannuation funding came through to PMS practices, the better.

'There isn't really any excuse for a delay. Once it's been decided, it should really come through quickly. I'd like to see the funding in the next payments to practices.'

Dr Grenville said practices were facing extra pressure in winter and were taking on extra short-term staff to help them cope. Part of the winter pressures money made available was being used locally to support practices, he added.

Avon LMC’s Dr Simon Bradley said while it was good news that practices would be reimbursed money they were owed, area teams must ensure payments were made at the earliest opportunity.

‘It should be a straightforward calculation and they should make it in the next round of payments,' he said.

‘Practices are very pushed for funding at the moment, so to be reimbursed money they are owed is very important,' he added. ‘It was always unfair and unreasonable to treat GMS and PMS unequally.'

The letter to area teams said: ‘NHS England has determined that an adjustment for locum employer superannuation costs equivalent to that applied to GMS contracts at 1 April 2013 should also apply to PMS arrangements from that date. Area Teams should now ensure that all PMS arrangements are uplifted to include funding for locum employer superannuation costs, backdated to 1 April 2013.’

NHS England has said 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.

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