Locum GPs fear being left in limbo as payment deadline looms

Locum GPs who have been promised payment this week by an agency that owes doctors thousands of pounds fear they could be left in limbo as a court case to liquidate some of the company's assets is set to begin next week.

Staffing agency Primary Care People has said it will pay all locum GPs affected by late payments by the end of June – this Friday – after it secured a new funder to resolve issues that had left it unable to pay locums for weeks after they had completed work.

GPonline reported earlier this month that some locums had contacted debt collectors or begun legal action against the company to recover sums they were owed. Around 70 GPs were caught up in the delays.

One affected locum, GPC sessional GP subcommittee member Dr Matt Mayer has told GPonline that he plans to launch legal action against directors of the company if he does not receive payment this week.

Locum payments

Locums fear further problems with receiving payment because the Companies Court is set to consider next week whether one of the businesses owned by Primary Care People should be liquidated to pay debts claimed by another company.

The court case comes as a result of Locum Staffing Ltd – also a GP locum provider – issuing a winding up petition against Evolve Resources Solutions Ltd – a company owned by Primary Care People – in May, claiming it is owed money.

A winding up petition can be issued by creditors to enforce payment of money owed if the sum is over £750 and other attempts to recoup the costs have failed.

The case to liquidate the company is due to be heard in court on Monday 3 July, according to the London Gazette, where all winding up petitions are required to be published.

Primary Care People told GPonline that the action taken against Evolve Resources Ltd – which sells pharmaceutical and laboratory equipment – should not impact its new funding arrangement for Primary Care People Ltd, as it is ‘not our main trading entity’.

Legal action

Dr Mayer said the company had repeated its commitment to pay all outstanding fees by the end of this month to him. ‘I have told them that if they renege on this promise, then I will be taking separate action against the directors themselves,’ he told GPonline.

‘They tell me they wish to keep trading and assured me what has happened was outside of their control.

‘We shall see what happens on Friday. I have emphasised that the consequences of non-payment will be severe.’

Primary Care People CEO Tawhid Juneja said it was disputing the winding up petition. ‘A winding up order was issued to Evolve Resource Solutions Ltd by a competing locum agency during the period of our funding restructure to support the increased payroll capacity,’ said Mr Juneja.

‘Primary Care People have committed all of our business streams to one funder. Our revenue streams include GPs, nurses, pharmacists, practice managers, NHS executives search and IMG projects.

‘The restructure will benefit all of our clients and candidates. This doesn’t impact our new funding arrangement for Primary Care People Ltd as Evolve Resource Solutions Ltd and Evolve Recruitment Solutions Ltd are not our main trading entities.’

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