News

Two doctors are banned from acting as company directors after failing to pass on pension contributions

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e8425 (Published 11 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8425
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Two North London GPs and another man who ran Camidoc, an out of hours service provider, have been banned from acting as company directors for periods totalling more than 14 years after failing to pass on over £700 000 (€870 000; $1.1m) of NHS pension contributions.

The three men—Michael Golding of East Barnet and the GPs Mayor Gor of Finchley and Ivor Robinson of Highgate—were using the money to keep the company afloat after it ran into financial difficulties in the period between 2008 and 2010.

They did not benefit personally, but after the company went into liquidation there were not enough funds to pay the debt to the pension fund in full. Golding was disqualified for six years, Gor for five, and Robinson for three years six months.

Camidoc had a contract to run out of hours services for several primary care trusts in London but ran into financial difficulties when demand for services exceeded the estimates covered by the contract. Losses were recorded, but the company kept going by retaining pension contributions from the GPs it employed that ought to have been passed on to the NHS Pension Agency. The amount involved was £699 720.65, the Insolvency Service reported.

Mark Bruce, a chief examiner at the service, said, “Failure to pay pension contributions into a pension scheme while deducting money from members is a very serious matter, and the law rightly treats it as such.”

Camidoc was awarded a new contract in March 2010 but, before signing it, volunteered information about its financial problems to the four primary care trusts it served. The trusts commissioned a review of the business, which showed that it had plans to pay off the pension money at £60 000 a month when the contract was renewed.

But on the basis of the review’s findings the trusts decided not to renew the contract but to look elsewhere, signing a deal with the private company Harmoni instead. After this decision David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, accused the government of “auctioning off our NHS brick by brick” by replacing a not for profit service with a private provider.

Camidoc went into liquidation in November 2010.

A spokeswoman for the Insolvency Service said that the organisation understood that the deficit in contributions to the Pensions Agency would be made good. It is not thought that any doctor’s pension would be affected.

Notes

Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8425