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GPs compensated £1.5m for pension contribution errors last year

GPs compensated £1.5m for pension contribution errors last year

The Treasury has approved £1.5m in compensation payments to GPs for ‘errors’ made in their pension contributions, NHS England has revealed.

NHS England’s annual report and accounts for 2020/21, published last week, said the administrative errors had been caused by ‘incomplete’ data and a ‘backlog of missed or inaccurate’ payments.

It remains unclear how many GPs are affected and whether the compensation has yet been paid out.

The report said: ‘The sum of compensation payments with Treasury approval includes a sum equating to £1.5m which was approved for payment to GPs who are members of the NHS Pension scheme. 

‘The payments were approved to compensate GPs for the pension contribution administrative errors, due to incomplete legacy data of GP contributions and issues with service delivery resulting in a backlog of missed or inaccurate pension contract payments.’

GP pensions expert Dr Nick Grundy told Pulse that while the compensation is ‘excellent news’, there has been ‘no improvement at all’ in Primary Care Support England (PCSE) – which handles GP pensions on behalf of NHS England.

He said: ‘Many of those original cases [I raised with NHS England] from 2017/2018 have had exactly the same issues crop up again – the same years’ data go missing – so if they keep getting compensation, they might end up having a larger compensation pot than pension!

‘They are a million miles away from a service that treats GPs even with basic respect – divorce statements (CETVs) continue to be delayed for months-years, for instance – and faith in NHS England’s ability to fix this is non-existent in the profession.’

The report also said that PCSE ‘performance management’ had yielded ‘sustained improvement’.

However, it admitted that while a project to ‘assure the quality’ of historical GP pensions data had ‘made progress’, its completion had ‘slipped into 2021/22’ due to the pandemic.

NHS England said: ‘We have made sustained improvement with PCSE during 2020/21.

‘The project to assure the quality of historical GP pensions data, held by PCSE and NHS Pensions, made progress in 2020/21; however, completion of the project slipped into 2021/22 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.’

It added: ‘Our focus in 2020/21 was to ensure that primary care providers received effective support through the Covid-19 pandemic. 

‘This required PCSE to provide additional support; for example, providing a mailing service for contacting vulnerable patients, delivering Covid-19 test kits to primary care and facilitating Covid-19 vaccination payments.’

‘Administrative savings’ of £146m were made in the first five years of the contract with Capita, which runs PCSE, NHS England said.

It comes as Capita has admitted that GPs starting retirement are seeing delays with the processing of their pensions.

And GP accountants have warned that GPs could miss out on compensation worth ‘thousands of pounds’ for pension tax charges because they are not yet able to make a claim.

Meanwhile, the pensions ombudsman ruled in October against PCSE and the NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA), saying they ‘negligently’ handled a doctor’s pension contributions

The primary care minister last month said that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will meet with the Treasury to ‘look at’ GP pension concerns.

NHS England’s annual report also revealed that it is currently seeking legal advice on whether it can recover £28m it has ‘overpaid’ GPs in seniority payments.

READERS' COMMENTS [3]

Nick Mann 8 February, 2022 10:40 am

How does one claim the compensation? I sent pcse a contact form requesting compensation and they just ignored it.

Some" Bloke 8 February, 2022 1:30 pm

suspect that Administrative savings’ of £146m were made by not administering pensions properly

Patrufini Duffy 8 February, 2022 3:42 pm

Compensation rhymes with conspiration.