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Incorrect figures cause pension confusion

Concerns were raised last week throughout the dental industry as confusing guidelines caused problems for pension figures.

After the deadline for the NHS Annual Reconciliation Reports, the National Association of Specialist Dental Accountants and Lawyers (NASDAL) revealed there are still incorrect reports of dentist’s earnings despite measures to improve awareness.

Although a manual on how to fill out the report was circulated earlier in the year to clarify the process, discrepancies and miscalculations have still occurred. These are important errors as they affect pension rates and client payments.

The NHS wants dental professionals to submit the Net Pensionable Earnings (NPE) of the practice as a whole, as well as individual earnings, to present a rounded outlook on the funding situation within the industry. However, many practices have misunderstood instructions.

This is the eighth year running in which problems surrounding earnings and pensions have posed problems, since new regulations came into being in 2006.

Johnny Minford, a specialist dental accountant from Minford Chartered Accountants in York, said: “The problem is the lack of understanding around the calculation of Net Pensionable Earnings. We are aware of many practices which are not being well advised still using wrong methods of calculation.”

The professional urged dentists to “sing from the same hymn sheet” when the report comes around again in 2014.

Mr Minford hoped for a united front: “All of us working with dentists surely owe it to our clients to advise them properly.”

The NHS is very keen to address these issues as soon as possible in their new focus on patient long term care. Figures may cause appointment price-rises which may provoke strong public reaction.

Chair of the NASDAL Superannuation Committee Alan Suggett said that the dental industry was willing to smooth out problems as quickly as possible before the 2014 deadlines. He was pleased with the NHS desire to “communicate the correct basis of pension calculation and bring confusion to an end”.

Posted by Allie Wright

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