Draft regulations extend access to NHS pension scheme to new care models09/01/17
The Department of Health has published for consultation a draft Statutory Instrument proposing amendments to the rules for the NHS Pension Scheme. The main aims of the draft amendments are:
- ensuring income from new types of contracts relating to new ways of delivering primary and secondary care are pensionable;
- enabling independent providers of NHS clinical services who only hold an NHS standard sub-contract or a Multispecialty Community Provider (MCP) standard sub-contract to apply to become NHS Pension Scheme employing authorities
The consultation will run until 26 January 2017.
The MCP Contract
NHS England recently published a draft MCP contract for consultation. The intention is that the MCP contract will become a pensionable contract under the NHS Pension Scheme. In addition, it will become a “qualifying contract” which will enable independent providers to become employing authorities under the Scheme. This means that new MCPs holding an MCP contract will, from 1 April 2017, be able to apply to become an NHS pension scheme employing authority, and offer the NHS pension scheme to their eligible employees.
An amendment to the NHS Pension Scheme regulations in April 2016 permitted income from specified sub-contracts to be treated as pensionable. However, this only applied where:
- the sub-contractor was already an employing authority holding a “qualifying contract”;
- the sub-contract was the NHS standard sub-contract.
- the holder of the main NHS standard contract (from which the sub-contract flowed) was an employing authority under the NHS Pension Scheme.
It is now proposed that there will be a standard MCP sub-contract, to enable sub-contractors working under an MCP arrangement to treat the income from that sub-contract as pensionable. This will be important where GP practices wish to retain their existing GMS or PMS contracts but agree to provide services on behalf of the MCP.
In addition, the draft regulations provide for 2 types of sub-contract to be qualifying contracts for the purpose of independent provider employing authority status. Sub-contractors holding either the NHS standard sub-contract or MCP sub-contract will in future be able to apply for employing authority status. In increasing access to the NHS Pension Scheme in this way, the draft regulations potentially provide a route for GP Federations or other primary care “at scale” organisations that work on a sub-contractor basis to employ staff directly and give them access to the NHS Pension Scheme.
To find out more, please contact Peter Edwards, Raj Basi, or Mark Jarvis.