BMA steps up pressure over primary care support failings

The BMA has demanded information on unallocated GP pension payments and compensation for practices as it steps up pressure on NHS England over problems with primary care support.

Primary care support problems have affected transfer of patient records (Photo: JH Lancy)
Primary care support problems have affected transfer of patient records (Photo: JH Lancy)

BMA leaders have submitted freedom of information (FOI) requests to NHS England, demanding details of the proportion of GPs whose pension records are up to date, and the value of unallocated payments.

The union has also asked for information on the compensation scheme meant to reimburse practices left out of pocket after problems with primary care support. It has demanded details of the rules that govern the compensation scheme, and to know how many practices have received payments.

The BMA said it made the FOI requests because of 'ongoing concerns' over the ability of Primary Care Support England - run by outsourcing company Capita - to process GPs' pension payments.

Cashflow

GPs have previously warned that cashflow issues caused by delayed payments and problems with the transfer of patient records between practices under the Capita-led service had left practices struggling to remain financially viable, and could put patients at risk.

GPC policy lead Dr Ian Hume said the GPC would report back to BMA members with the outcomes of the FOIs and was seeking 'written assurances' from NHS England that no GP will be 'adversely impacted by Capita failings'.

The union has suggested that GP practice can also submit 'subject access requests' to NHS England to demand information about their own data, and that practices may wish to seek 'independent financial advice' if they have been left without vital funding.

GPC member Dr Krishan Aggarwal said: 'Our FOI requests are a result of our ongoing concerns with PCSE’s ability to process the pension contributions of GPs.

Pensions warning

'While we understand that our concerns are being taken seriously, ultimately it is the responsibility of NHS England to ensure that individuals’ pension contributions are processed correctly, that their records are up to date and that they are submitted to NHS Pensions on time.

'NHS England must resolve these issues so that no GP is financially penalised due to the processing of pension contributions by PCSE.'

An NHS England spokesperson said: 'NHS England has been working closely with the BMA directly, and Capita to address the concerns which Dr Aggarwal has raised and we are all committed to resolving these issues as quickly as we possibly can.'

GP leaders and NHS England have reminded salaried GPs of the need to complete annual self assessment forms to confirm their earnings for the year, to ensure their pension contributions can be calculated correctly.

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