NHS Pension guide

George Chacko

2 years ago - Edited

This guide is only for locum GPs working in England and Wales.

Can I claim NHS pension?

As a Locum GP, you may join the NHS Pension Scheme if you are part of the Medical Performers List and you work directly for a NHS organisation such as a GP Practice.

There are many Practices that offer work with pension benefits on Bookamed, the job benefits will provide this info during your search. Through Bookamed, any pensionable sessions completed and approved as a sole trader will be pensionable. Bookamed will calculate your pensionable pay when generating your invoices. 

Please note, however, that you cannot claim NHS Pension as a limited company, because you will not be working directly for the NHS. If you operate both as a Sole Trader and Limited Company interchangeably, you can choose on a shift-by-shift basis whether you would like to apply as Limited Company or as a Sole Trader. If you want to claim pension for your sessions, we suggest you always display your account as a Sole Trader.

In order to claim an NHS pension, you are required to complete the requisite pension forms, and send them to your Primary Care Organisation (PCO), along with payment for your contributions on time. 

Who pays into a locum pension?

GP locum pensions are a combination of two contributions:

  1. The organisation’s contribution
  2. The employee’s contribution

When calculating how much pension should be paid, only 90% of income from a session is ‘pensionable pay’. The last 10% is set aside as a fixed allowance for expenses, which are often referred to as ‘Non-pensionable earnings’.

Organisation’s contributions

An organisation’s pension contributions are fixed at 14.38% of pensionable pay. Although a GP Practice is responsible for paying these contributions, it is your responsibility as a locum GP to collect these contributions from the practice and forward them over to the NHS. Make sure you send both your organisation ’s contributions, as well as your own.

Employee contributions and tiered rates

Your total pension contribution is dependent on your annual GP income. There are 7 bands of pensionable earnings. As a GP locum, you are responsible for calculating which rate you fall into, taking into account your anticipated ‘total GP income’ for the end of the calendar year.

England & WalesPensionable EarningsTiered Rate %2015 to March 31 2019
Up to £15,431.995%
£15,432.00 to £21,477.995.6%
£21,478.00 to £26,823.997.1%
£26,824.00 to £47,845.999.3%
£47,846.00 to £70,630.9912.5%
£70,631.00 to £111,376.9913.5%
£111,377.00 and over14.5%

You must also consider which version of the Pension Scheme you are a member of, as this will determine whether your earnings should be annualised when calculating your tier.

What pension forms should be submitted?

There are two types of pension forms that you should submit alongside your contribution payments. These are;

  1. GP Locum A
  2. GP Locum B

Form A

A Locum A form is used to record an organisation’s contributions for each pensionable session. This allows the organisation to certify that the work was completed by signing the form for you.

Form B

The Locum B form is a monthly summary of all your pensionable sessions you were paid for in a calendar month. This is submitted along with all of your form A’s as a ‘monthly pack’. The employee’s and organisation’s contributions from each month are recorded on the Form B and totalled, indicating the total amount of pension contribution you will need to pay that month.

Please note that the sessions that populate each month’s Form B are based on the payment date of the session, not the date that you worked that session. This is because you can only claim pension for work that has been paid for.

When to send your forms?

Your PCO should receive your Form B Pack and your pension contribution by the 7th of the following month. For example, your January Form B Pack, containing the Form As for all of your pensionable sessions that were paid for January, should be submitted to the PCO by the 7th February, as well as your payment. 

The 10-week rule

One of the most frequently misunderstood sections from the NHSBSA says that:

In order to superannuate their income a GP locum[…] must send forms A and B and all NHS Pension Scheme contributions to Primary Care Support England(PCSE) or the LHB(Wales) within the 10 week window.

This ‘window’ starts from the date a session was worked at the Practice – This is different to the time window for which your A and B forms should be submitted. 

Once this 10-week window has passed, the work is seen as no longer being pensionable. It is worth noting, however, that if you end up failing to submit forms before either the “7th of the month” or by the “10-week” period, some leniency is often shown, and we recommend that you still submit these forms.

Sending multiple Form Bs in a single month

You can submit more than one Form B Pack in any given month, along with your corresponding contribution payments, if you need to.

Where to send the Form B Packs

Your pension Form B Pack and accompanying payment should be sent to your PCO, also known as PCSEs (Primary Care Support England) in England and LHBs (Local Health Boards) in Wales. 

Your specific PCO will correspond with the area team or local health board that you are on the medical performers list with. If you need help identifying your PCO, you can use the ‘Area Team Search’ in England or the ‘All Wales Medical Performers List’ tool in Wales to help you.

How to submit your forms and payments

On 20 December 2017, PCSE released an online submission service for pensions that can be used in order to:

  • Submit all GP payments and pensions forms to PCSE including annual certificates of pensionable pay/profit, type 2 self-assessment forms, GP solo and Locum A & B forms
  • Send a query regarding a particular claim or paymentFind guidance and information on payment and pension topics
  • Find guidance and information on payment and pension topics

To access it, visit the ‘Contact Us‘ page on the PCSE website and choose ‘GP Pensions’ in the enquiries form.

The completion notes found on each GP Locum B form explain how to make BACS and cheque payments for each of your pension contributions:

If you are a Locum in England you can now submit your payments by BACS.
When submitting your[…] payment by BACs you will need to include a unique identifying reference comprised of the following details:

  • Membership(SD) number – your GP pension scheme number: 8 characters
  • details of the form this relates to: 3 characters
  • month: 3 characters
  • year: 2 characters

Example: 12345678locapr17
This reference indicates that you are Dr X and your membership number is 12345678 submitting your Locum form for April 2017.
If your[…] BACS payment does not include the unique identifying reference then your pension record will not be credited with this work.
The bank account details you require can be obtained by calling PCSE on 0333 014 2884.
Cheque payment
In England make your cheque payable to NHS England.
In Wales make your cheque payable to the LHB.

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