Locum GPs and Death in Service Issues

Healthcare Accountancy – 1 April 2020

Imminent new Locum Zero-Hour contracts becoming available in next few days to fix ‘Death-in-Service’ issue.

Locum GP’s have been fundamental in the operation of GP surgeries for a long time, however the current pandemic has highlighted an issue that has been in the news since 2014, following a case where the high court rejected an appeal by the BMA on behalf of a Locum GP who sadly passed away on a day she was not contracted to work and as a result the GP was denied death-in-service benefits for her family from the NHS.

During the current pandemic Locum doctors are in the front line and putting themselves at risk of contracting Covid-19 whilst in a position where if the worst should happen their loved ones will not be protected in the same way as their Principal, salaried or hospital peers are.

However the NHS has now stepped in and it is understood that details are imminently being released of an agreement under which locum GP’s will be employed under a Zero- Hour contract that will entitle them to the same death-in-service benefits as any other GP. This agreement is believed to involve Locum GP’s being employed by a central NHS body.

How this will affect the current locum arrangement is currently not known, however I will update readers on how this will affect NHS pensions and employment status etc. when more details become available.

Locums make up at least 20% of GP’s in the UK and many have expressed concerns over taking on additional sessions during the current crisis due to this issue. It is now hoped that this will alleviate these worries and allow locum GP’s to concentrate on the immediate job in hand. It is also unclear at present weather this arrangement is to be used just during the covid-19 outbreak of if it will become permanent.

Before this announcement the National Association of GP’s said that ‘Locums have been the cement holding general practice together’ and that ‘it would morally unforgivable to fail to provide assurance to locum GP’s during the COVID-19 outbreak’.

About the author

Service: Accountancy, Audit, Business Advisory, Taxation

Specialism: Healthcare practices, Clubs and Associations, Professional service businesses and private clients and business and individuals in all sectors

Philip provides specialist tax advice and accounting services to Doctors practices and other medical professionals as well as dealing with Clubs and Associations and non-residents.

Philip trained with a local practice in Hornchurch in Essex. Since then Philip has developed his specialisms in GP Practices, Clubs and Societies, as well as providing detailed management support services to commercial owner managed clients.
Philip lives in Kent and enjoys running, water-sports and travel and is currently learning Tagalog (Filipino)

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