To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of pension provision for GP practice nurses and, in particular, the impact of their exclusion from the NHS pension scheme until 1997.
Membership of the NHS Pension Scheme was extended to general practitioner (GP) practice nurses from September 1997, following an agreement reached with organisations representing nurses and GPs. Prior to this date, GP practice nurses were excluded because eligibility was originally limited to those directly employed by a National Health Service body. GP practice nurses are employed directly by self-employed GPs, rather than the NHS.
The pressure on NHS Pension Scheme costs, which are met mutually across all members and their employers, meant that practice nurses could not be offered retrospective membership for employment before 1997. This was accepted by staff representatives at the time of the agreement, and remains the current position.
However, GP practice nurses and their employers can make voluntary extra contributions to purchase units of ‘Additional Pension’ and so boost their NHS retirement pensions.