Defined Benefit  

GPs might have received wrong pension payments

GPs might have received wrong pension payments

GPs might have received inaccurate pension payments, due to problems with the completeness of GP pension records, including missing documents and inaccurate data, which date back as far as 2004.

In its report about NHS England's management of the primary care support services contract with Capita, published today (17 May), the National Audit Office said some of the issues with GP payments and pensions are a result of legacy issues predating the contract with Capita.

NHS England acknowledged these problems, which include missing documents and inaccurate data, can affect the accuracy of payments, the report stated.

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NHS England awarded Capita a seven to 10-year contract worth around £400m in 2015. 

The company is now responsible for the pension documentation for 37,000 GPs.

NHS England has commissioned consultants to assess the scale of the historic problem, the report added.

A spokesperson for NHS England said: "NHS England is currently looking into concerns which have been raised surrounding GP pension records dating back to 2004, including a question of whether GPs have been fulfilling their legal requirement to submit annual self-certification forms.

“This work is ongoing in conjunction with other relevant agencies.”

One of the areas of concern is whether type two practitioners – which are an employee of a GP practice, working on a long-term fee basis or doing ad hoc sessions – have completed their annual self-certification.

This form confirms the actual earnings of the GP during the year, and are used to correct their pension contributions for that year, which were based on projected earnings.

The British Medical Association (BMA) - the trade union and professional association for doctors and medical students – is "extremely concerned about what this might mean for GPs across the country".

Dr Richard Vautrey, GPs committee chair (England) at the BMA, said: "We are aware that NHS England have commissioned a further piece of work on how to resolve the issue and we hope these plans will be in place in the next few weeks. 

"NHS England have informed us that they will be unable to advise individuals until this is done."

BMA has in the meantime requested an urgent meeting with NHS England to discuss this matter, given its clear importance, Mr Vautrey added.