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On 8th September 2017 I submitted a Subject Access Request (SAR) to Primary Care Support England (PCSE) to request copies of any transactions held on their systems pertaining to my pension records. I had mentioned my inclination to do this to fellow members of the BMA Sessional Subcommittee a few days earlier. I had been in contact with NHS Pensions prior to this as I was concerned that there was no information showing on my Total Rewards statement for my pension. The statement had been withdrawn because PCSE had not forwarded totals for the 2015-2016 financial year to NHS Pensions. I had sent PCSE a Type 2 form, reconciling salaried and locum pension payments, a full year earlier on 8th September 2016. The e-mail had been acknowledged the following day so I know it was received. PCSE used to operate on a local level but since 1st September 2015 the contract had been awarded to Capita to run their systems. To an outsider they appear to function as a black box. Information goes in, and at a later stage, information comes out. PCSE have a link to the NHS Pensions agency and they are supposed to update them in a timely manner. In my case PCSE’s black box was appearing to be more like a black hole. But unlike real black holes, it is possible to look inside this one, thanks to the Data Protection Act (DPA).
When SARs are made under the DPA the law requires the Data Controller to comply with the request within 40 days. A £10 fee may be payable and the Data Controller must make reasonable efforts to check the person making the request is the person to whom the data pertains. If the information is not forthcoming the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can be approached who can look into what has happened. If the organisation is found to be in breach of the law it can be told how to comply with the law. They can request action plans be made. They can also impose monetary penalties.
After 40 days, on the 18th October, I wrote to the Office of the Information Commissioner as I had not received the information I had requested from PCSE. Two days earlier, on 16th October, I’d received a fairly standard e-mail from a newly created NHS e-mail address of [email protected] explaining that NHS England now considered itself to be the Data Controller (and hence responsible for the fulfilment of the SAR) and that a request for further information would be made in due course. It was a holding e-mail. This e-mail meant that PCSE/Capita must not be regarded as the Data Processor, and under current law, not responsible for the supply of information to me. NHS Pensions had been unaware of this distinction when they had directed me initially to contact PCSE. The new e-mail address had been created, I feel, to deal with an in-rush of SARs that had been generated by a social media campaign (via GP Survival) that started on 27th September a number of weeks after my submission. I had been allocated a reference in the 150s, suggesting many other people were also interested in seeing what was in their record.
On 30th September I received a paper copy of the yearly totals NHS Pensions hold on my account with them. It dates back to 2003 when I joined the pension scheme. They had offered to send this when I originally considered making a SAR to them. However, as they had no breakdowns of the yearly totals (these were held by PCSE) there was little point in pursuing them further under the terms of the DPA.
From the breakdowns provided by NHS Pensions I can see mistakes. My foundation training totals are incorrect. I spent a day going through all old pay slips and I can see that my hospital incorrectly deducted pension contributions from my banding payments. They submitted a correction, which appears to make sense (and I remember this being mentioned at the time when I queried the payslips), but the correction spans two pension years, so my pensionable earnings are incorrectly recorded for two consecutive years. One is too high and one is too low. I don’t know if this will affect my final pension. There is also another error from my locum work in the 2015-2016 year. I was pleasantly surprised to see these totals have now appeared given NHS Pensions had no information for this pension year a month earlier when I had started my enquiries with them. The error is disconcerting however and points to a system failure. The pensionable pay total is out by about £30. The contributions are correctly listed though. I don’t know where the error has arisen. My Type 2 form (which I know was received) doesn’t match these numbers and it doesn’t appear to be a simple typing error. I have no idea what is going on. Hopefully, the light of the SAR shining in the black hole of PCSE will reveal all. That’s the plan anyway.
As of the time of writing, I’m still awaiting information. There have been some recent developments. On 28th November I heard back from the ICO. They are considering how best to proceed, given so many other doctors are now contacting them. On 4th December I heard back from NHS England saying the work is complex and they don’t know when they can comply with the 40-day deadline. This was day 87. Retirement is still some way off, so I hope they don’t take too long...
Mark Coley is the Sessional GP subcommittee member for the North West region.
In a very similar position but many more errors than yours sadly. Have been working on trying to get corrections done via capita for last year even with bma fighting my corner. Pension record still £100s out and many of my roles have not been included. So frustrating, time consuming and stressful. I can't understand how we can be allowed to b treated like this.
Is it not time that legal action I'd considered. There is a contract between the individual and nus England to manage the pension scheme in an appropriate manner. Cannot the bra bring a test case. At the very least I would expect to be paid for my time spent correcting their errors.
I am in the same position, the bma have tried on two occasions to try and sort out the errors. No information is available, emails are never replied to, months go by, my past and present practices throw up their hands and say they are unable to help.It makes me very anxious. My father is sitting pretty on his NHS Dentists pension, however I am really concerned that when my retirement comes this sorry mess will result in me finacially loosing out. I work really hard, try my best to chase up all the paperwork but reach dead ends at every turn. I feel no one cares or understands. No wonder GPs are leaving the NHS, what other profession gets treated this way?
I have completed a SARS and am getting fortnightly identical letters emailed to say they are trying to resolve my queries.
I have also had contact with several other PCSE staff who are looking at different aspects of my queries.
My record of pensionable income since 2009 shows a shortfall of around £15000.
I think doctors really need a good accountant and some knowledge of how this all works to ensure errors aren't missed and followed up.
The project is support for implement the new plans for one place. The records and reports is main for the submitting the project. This project is based on primary care and good support for England. Information is good and get reward also. The quality acknowledgement and time to prepare the statement is very important. The function can be appearing a pension payments are clear by these projects. Most of the person to get benefits and information commoner can approve for the report. The offered payments and yearly total will be calculated. PCSE and BMA project are more secured and better to be given further requirements. It is leads to pay the bending payments for pensions. Get more information from custom essay writing service
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