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Independents' Day

Private providers to gain access to NHS Pension Scheme from April 2014

Private providers will gain access to the NHS Pension Scheme from next year under Government proposals to ensure a ‘truly plural NHS market’ published today.

The proposals would ramp up competition for NHS providers, as any company with an NHS standard or APMS contract would be able to opt any employees working for the NHS for more than 50% of their time into the scheme.

The Government says its proposals – contained in a consultation document published today – will ensure greater staff mobility and remove the tilt in the ‘pensions playing field’ towards the NHS.

It said that it was accepting the recommendations from the ‘Staff Passport Group’ – which includes the Treasury, the Department of Health, the NHS and private companies – that the NHS Pensions Scheme should be extended to independent providers.

It said: ‘The “pensions playing field” has until now been tilted away from the new independent providers and towards the NHS, with the latter able to join staff in the defined benefit NHS Pension Scheme (NHSPS) at relatively low employer cost, and independent  providers unable to join NHSPS and facing up to double the cost to provide “broadly comparable” pensions.’

It said that access to the NHS Pensions Scheme will cost private providers the same as it does for all NHS providers, with employer contributions of 14%.

The document said: ‘Subject to suitable controls and a careful post-implementation review of the new access arrangements, Ministers have approved the Staff Passport Group’s recommendation that NHSPS should be extended to new independent providers. Comments are invited on the attached draft NHSPS Amendment Regulations, effective from 1 April 2014, subject to parliamentary process.’

It also introduces a host of new charges to use the scheme, with penalties for employers who make late payments into the scheme and caps on the benefits some members gain from large wage increases in the final three years before retirement.

The consultation document also details the rise in contributions expected from those enrolled in the NHS Pension Scheme from 1 April 2014, with a 1.2 percentage point increase in contributions for all members of the scheme earning over £49,473 per annum (full-time equivalent pay) in 2014/15.



Readers' comments (11)

  • Tom Caldwell

    So the thing that private companies could not cope with ( the pension), was assulted last year with comments that this was playing into the hands of private providers.

    The Government could be no more obvious even if they said we are privatising the NHS. They doing it all in plane sight. No public outcry except against GPs. Got to love politics.

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  • Agreed as above. It is totally obvious that this is paving the way for Virgin Healthcare et al to enter GP.

    To be honest, I'm not sure that I mind anymore.

    I'll expect overtime when I don't leave bang on time, I will work exactly to contract and I'll get all the perks of an employee. This will be another of those cases where the government will regret its mistakes a few years later (OOH anyone...?)

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  • I hope they actually keep a pot of money!
    I don't know but just about every public service that has been privatised has been stripped to the bone annd still cost the tax payer more.
    AQP- any quack paid (and now pensioned.)

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  • Great banner at the top of this page currently-
    'Are You a GP looking for your next job?'

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  • Actually its not just private providers but also not for profit community interest companies who will now be able to offer the NHS pension. Its difficult to see why private GP partnerships should be able to offer it and not charities etc
    My impression is the pure private companies are in retreat from the NHS anyway. Serco trying to pull out, Care UK struggling to win new contracts etc

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  • Yes it's being privatised . That was obvious when practice boundaries were made obsolete . To bring the NHS pension into line with private schemes index linking will go . This is because massive inflation is round the corner . The United States cannot continue to "print" $85bn per month without this being the case . Bail out now.

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  • This is standard practice in any Ponzi scheme - if a genuine pot has not been established & one is simply paying out today's incoming funds to current pensioners, one has to continually increase the number of contributors in order to delay collapse. This is why GP staff were incorporated a while back & why the NHS pension scheme will go wider & wider until disaster strikes.

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  • One of the biggest barriers to entry for the private sector has been recruitment because its simply impossible to compete with the NHS pension scheme. This couldn’t have been good for the many Politicians with interests in private healthcare who will probably now see their share values increase overnight following this news so this news isn’t really that much of a surprise is it?

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  • I think this is probably the next logical step if I'm honest. GPs are private providers already, albeit witha solely NHS contract. The scheme already allows that staff TUPEd as part of an NHS contract can remain under the NHS scheme anyway, so its not that wild a leap really. But yes, its privatisation, and it means that failing NHS bodies will be far riper pickings for the private sector than ever before. Next expect that GP practices will be allowed to sell their goodwill - that will be the door not just opened, but removed from its hinges.

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  • The government worked with private healthcare to draft the legislation, to create the structure of Monitor and all before the bill had reached parliament.

    Democracy is a word bandied around but it is not one that is treated with any respect by our so-called public servants who are riddled with private healthcare interests.

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