GP Survival have been running a campaign since September 2017 to highlight the mishandling of GPs’ pensions contributions through the contract NHS England 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.
September 2017 – initial campaign
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.
Autumn 2018 – letter to NHSE and HSCC
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.
In the absence of any response to the letter of October 2018, GP Survival relaunched the SAR campaign in November 2018, and wrote again to the HSCC asking them to raise these issues with NHS England. That letter was co-signed by three other doctors’ representative organisations: the National Association of Sessional GPs, the Doctors’ Association UK, and Resilient GP.
November 2018 – relaunch of the campaign
In the absence of any formal response from NHS England to a letter sent almost two months ago, or 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 relaunched the original campaign in January 2019, 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.
January 2019 – agreements with NHS England
The chair of GP Survival met NHS England and PriceWaterhouseCoopers in January 2019, and agreed a series of changes to the ways in which members interact with PCSE to lessen the stress and aggravation of that process. Those changes and ongoing work are outlined in the associated press release.