Thousands of GPs ‘in the dark’ about their pensions

NHS Pensions has admitted that thousands of GP pension statements are ‘potentially incorrect’ and has removed access to the records, meaning that GPs are unable to look at them.

The problem concerns an error in the Total Reward Statement (TRS) online portal and is affecting GPs who had had ‘officer status’ before 2000, which are those who had contributed to the pension scheme while working in a non-medical role.

According to a NHS Pensions spokesperson, the organisation identified that 8,500 statements for this cohort were potentially incorrect and access by these members was removed by the end of August.

The spokesperson added that if these members were able to access their statements before they were withdrawn then any pension benefit figures would have been understated.

NHS Pensions said that it plans to provide correct updated information via TRS in late November or early December but said it cannot easily distinguish between different practitioner types on its system, although admitted that the majority were GPs.

As commentators have pointed out, this state of affairs means that affected GPs are unable to plan their finances and doctors have said they are ‘in the dark’ about their final pension. One said that it is a highly specialised area and very complicated. They need to allow professionals to help them but the information for the future is not there. The TRS portal is really helpful to someone who is going to retire now, but the delays mean that GPs will not know what their pension is, which is totally unacceptable.

One doctor reported that he tried to access his final statement as his retirement date is just weeks away but discovered that his records were missing from the portal. He said it meant he was not going to be able to get information about his pension, which is “incredibly frustrating”.