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NHS Pension Scheme (PO-21236)

Complainant: Dr N
Topic: Ill Health
Ref: PO-21236
Outcome: Upheld
Appeal outcome: None
Respondent: NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA)
Type: Pension complaint or dispute
Date:
Appeal: No

Ombudsman’s Determination

Outcome

The complaint shall be upheld against NHS BSA because it has not applied Regulation 25 of The NHS Pension Scheme Regulations 1980 (SI 1980/362) (the 1980 Regulations) (in their form at the time when Dr N contracted to purchase his added years), or Regulation 72 of the 1980 Regulations, correctly in Dr N’s case.

Complaint summary

 

Dr N complained about the level of information he was provided with when he was deciding to purchase additional years of contributing service under the Scheme, with a view to increasing his pension benefits under the Scheme. He says that he was not told about the risks that making the purchase posed to the level of his pension benefits and he only became aware of those risks when he received the breakdown of his entitlement in 2013. His complaint was determined on 20 July 2017. Dr N initially applied for permission to appeal. However, the parties subsequently applied jointly for a consent order. The High Court issued the Consent Order, on 26 January 2018, remitting the following matters to me for further consideration:-

· Dr N contends that his 51 days’ service, in various short-term roles prior to his qualification as a doctor, ought not to have been regarded as reckonable service under the Scheme. He contends that, at the end of each piece of work, he was categorised as a leaver and was only entitled to a refund of contributions. He contends that this service was not, therefore, reckonable service.

· Dr N wrote to Manchester Area Health Authority (MAHA) on 8 April 1981. He contends that this letter is material, and that I should refer to it and take it into account in my Determination, because:-

- It records his having been told that he was not eligible to purchase added years because his “superannuation” started on 21 October 1979 (the start date of his first temporary position as a clinical clerk).

- It contained his explanation of his previous periods of service and stated his “proper contract” started on 1 February 1981. He also asked if superannuation he had paid as a student would be taken into account.

- The response, dated 29 April 1981, stated that he was eligible to purchase up to seven years of ‘added service’.

- The part of the application form completed by his employing authority included a statement to the effect that it had been made within the 12 months’ time limit specified in the relevant regulations, despite the employing authority having exercised its statutory discretion to waive that time limit in Dr N’s case.

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