GP Survival have been running a campaign since September 2017 to highlight to NHS England the extent to which they have mishandled GPs’ pensions contributions through the contract they handed to Capita in 2015, and the human impact of their failings.
For advice on what to do and not to do in relation to pensions errors, please see our advice on handling pensions inaccuracies.
We sought to do this by submitting Subject Access Requests (SARs) to NHS England requesting all pensions data held by them on individual doctors. Around 400 have been submitted to date, and these have revealed gaping holes in the data NHSE hold through Capita, with some doctors having decades of missing and/or inaccurate data.
Accordingly, we have raised multiple cases with the Information Commissioner’s Office, notifying them of the volume of SARs which breached the 40 day turnaround (the average initial response time was close to 200 days), the inaccuracy and incompleteness of the data, and several specific cases where individual doctors were sent some or all of other people’s pensions data.
We wrote to NHSE in October 2018, highlighting the scale of the problem and calling for action. We also wrote at that time to Dr. Sarah Wollaston, the chair of the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee (HSCC), as they had previously corresponded with NHSE regarding Capita’s failings; Dr. Wollaston has kindly responded. As of 30th November we have had no formal response from NHSE to the letter sent almost two months ago, and signed by more than 500 GPs. We have therefore written again to the HSCC asking them to raise these issues with NHS England. That letter is co-signed by three other doctors’ representative organisations: the National Association of Sessional GPs, the independent national membership organisation for sessional GPs; the Doctors’ Association UK, a non-profit organisation advocating on behalf of its members, the medical profession and the NHS; and Resilient GP, an organisation set up to support GPs in developing working practices designed to prevent burn out.
Relaunch of the campaign
In the absence of any formal response from NHS England to a letter sent almost two months ago, and of any meaningful action to address the failings identified to them by us 14 months ago, GP Survival and the National Association of Sessional GPs are relaunching the original campaign, and calling on any GP who hasn’t already to submit a Subject Access Request.This can be done by completing the linked google form, and ensures that if NHSE fail to take meaningful action to address the shambles they have presided over, we can continue to submit SARs to highlight our ongoing dissatisfaction with the process.
We are in ongoing discussions with the ICO, the GPC, and NHS England in relation to this problem, and are aiming for a solution, as set out in the open letter, which does not put the onus on individual doctors to fix the problems created by NHS England and Capita.