A ‘large’ sum of unallocated pension funds has still yet to be distributed to GPs and other healthcare professionals – more than two years after it was believed the problems were being tackled, Pulse has learned.
In a recent email sent to a GP by Capita – the private firm that runs the NHS Primary Care Support England service, including the processing of GP pension contributions – it was confirmed by Capita that there is still ‘a large amount of unallocated cash for pensions in the NHS England bank account’.
The email, seen by Pulse, was sent by Capita’s complaints team after the locum GP discovered Capita was holding around £10,000 of their money without informing them it had not been put into their pension pot.
Capita said in the email that the unallocated money it holds is ‘not necessarily all locum related’ and that ‘PCSE and NHS England are working on trying to match up any unallocated payments to the respective GPs’.
GPs have said it is ‘unacceptable’ for there still to be large sums of pensions cash left unassigned more than two years after it was believed PCSE was tackling the problems
Capita said it is ‘working closely’ with commissioners to educate GPs and locums about providing clear information when pensions payments are submitted.
Concerns have previously been raised about the issue of unallocated GP pension money by the BMA.
In a blog published in February 2017, Dr Krishan Aggarwal, deputy chair of the BMA’s sessional GPs sub-committee, said PCSE was on track to match up unallocated cash to locum GPs by the end of March 2017.
Last year the BMA said it believed money was still yet to be distributed to GPs, calling on NHS England to confirm how much was unassigned – however it has declined to comment on the latest developments.
Dr Nicholas Grundy, a pensions expert and chair of grassroots campaign group GP Survival, said he was concerned the problems were still unresolved.
Dr Grundy said: ‘While I think NHS England and Capita deserve credit for trying to reduce the size of the unallocated cash-pile, of course it’s unacceptable that they made a commitment to the BMA which they’ve failed to fulfill two and a half years down the line.’
His comments were echoed by the locum GP who discovered they were owed £10,000.
The GP, who asked not to be named, told Pulse: ‘There’s a huge problem there and no one is really looking at it in a sort of detailed, organised manner.
‘The main question is how big is the picture? There are a lot of people like myself putting in money and there’s no raw way of looking at this and that’s the problem when you assume it’s all being taken care of but it clearly isn’t.’
They added: ‘I hadn’t been informed that that money wasn’t added as I only found out by mistake when raising another query. I’ve been putting money in every month or every couple of months and there’s money unaccounted since 2017.’
A Capita spokesperson said: ‘On occasion, we have found payments have been submitted without a clear reference or account number. As a matter of priority, PCSE has always worked to ensure these can be correctly matched to our records.
‘We are also working closely with CCGs and industry groups to help educate locums and GPs on the correct processes, to reduce the number of unallocated payments made.’
Pulse reported last month that Capita’s administration of the performers list had led to GPs fearing that they would be hit with pensions bills.
The BMA previously warned that a number of GPs were unable to work – causing them a ‘significant loss of earnings’ – due to delays in updating their performers lists. In addition, ‘GP trainees are not being added to the performers list within an acceptable timeframe when they have qualified’, the BMA said.