GP leaders have called for “urgent action” to address changes to GP locum pension payments.
The “inequity” of the current arrangement could be easily addressed, according to British Medical Association (BMA) council Chair Dr Mark Porter.
Since April 1, GP practices in England and Wales have had to pay the 14% locum pension contributions that used to be covered by primary care organisations.
Responding to a letter from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Dr Porter said he is “very seriously concerned” about the impact of the changes on GP locums and the workforce.
General medical services (GMS) are being given extra funding, but GP leaders say some practices incur more costs than others, leaving them underfunded.
Dr Porter said: “We have now had over 600 calls from practices and locums worried about this. The inequity of the current arrangement can be easily addressed.
“If GP employers pay the locum’s employer pension contribution, this could be reimbursed by the area teams in England or health boards in Wales.”
In a letter to the BMA sent earlier this month, Mr Hunt had said he would keep the impact of the changes under review.
Mr Hunt has said the changes to locum contributions were to address an anomaly and bring locums in line with other staff employed by the practice.
But Dr Porter points out in his letter that locums are self-employed and only engaged by practices for individual contracts of work.