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NHS England admits £1.3m cash loss due to overpaying suspended GPs

NHS England admits £1.3m cash loss due to overpaying suspended GPs

NHS England has disclosed a cash loss of £1.3m related to overpayments it made to 12 suspended GPs.

The commissioner’s annual report said that during 2022/23, 12 medical practitioners were identified as having received ‘ineligible suspension payments’ over the financial years from 2017/18 to 2022/23 .

The total payment to the 12 suspended GPs over that period of time was £1,335,626, and of this, £156,429 was paid to eight medical practitioners in this year alone.

It is not clear whether these GPs were employed by NHS England, and the report states that the organisation is pursuing legal action to recoup the money.

According to the report, this was ‘in addition’ to the two medical practitioners who received ineligible suspension payments between the 2017/18 and 2021/22, as reported by Pulse last year.

At the time, NHS England said that the two suspended GPs did not work directly for NHS England and that it had put in place ‘improved controls’ which were ‘intended to prevent recurrence of such cases’.

But in comments included within the latest report, the National Audit Office’s comptroller and auditor general Gareth Davies said NHS England ‘failed’ to establish a system of control to ensure suspension payments were only paid to medical practitioners who met the qualifying criteria and that these suspension payments were stopped ‘promptly’ once the qualifying period ended.

He said: ‘Such payments were not made in accordance with statutory regulations governing entitlement to suspension payments to suspended medical practitioners and therefore, in my opinion, the payments are irregular.

‘I also do not have assurance over the completeness of the population of irregular suspension payments disclosed.’

He said there were ‘various reasons’ the 12 medical practitioners were paid ineligible suspension payments.

In most cases NHS England continued making suspension payments to GPs after they had resigned their partnership in a GP practice.

Mr Davis added: ‘The regulations are clear that suspension payments should cease when the medical practitioner’s employment is terminated, which includes a GP resigning from a GP partnership.

‘In most of these cases the GPs had informed NHS England that they had resigned their partnership, but NHS England continued to make the suspension payments; in one case for over four years, after being notified.’

According to the report, other ineligible suspension payments happened because NHS England had ‘erroneously interpreted’ the regulations and made payments when the medical practitioner did not qualify for suspension payments.

He added: ‘Additionally, suspension of a medical practitioner often involves serious misconduct and I consider payment of ineligible suspension payments in those circumstances to be contentious. NHS England should have had checks in place to prevent or detect such payments.’

NHS England has not recovered most of the ineligible suspension payments it made, the report added.

Only the payments made to two of the 12 medical practitioners have been recovered ‘in full’ and that these recoveries amount to just £32,747.

The remaining £1,302,879 has not been recovered and NHS England is taking legal advice on how to claim it back.

NHS England has not responded to Pulse’s request for comment.



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Marilyn Monroe 25 April, 2024 12:03 pm

Super cool. NHS England is not liable for any financial screw ups it makes. That must be a relief for these guys. Takes the pressure off. Its so reassuring to hear this guy Gareth correctly identify that NHS screwed up but be totally cool with them getting away with it scot free..minus all the legal fees involved in recovering the money. But thats ok its paid for by someone else and feeds the legal guys. Where would we all be without these noble backroom legal flys laying eggs on all the shit NHS england is pumping out. Their kids need feeding.