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UK – Capita’s payroll error proves costly for NHS staff

06 September 2013

A hospital payroll error has led to more than 500 staff being overpaid money that managers now want back. The Royal Liverpool Hospital is one of 10 regional hospitals that have outsourced their payroll and human resources departments to Capita, according to the Liverpool Daily Post.

Since the outsourcing firm accepted the contract two years ago Trusts have collectively complained of a litany of errors with the service, from overpayments to alleged breaches of data protection rules due to Capita sending out personal employee information to other members of staff.

Capita latest mistake has left executives at the Royal Liverpool Hospital trying to claw back money paid out in error and hundreds of staff having to find the money before Christmas.

Letters have been sent out to around 550 employees informing them of the mistake which the Post understands relates to an unsociable hours bonus payment that staff were entitled to receive when off sick. The extra payment was stopped throughout the NHS in April but Capita failed to amend wage packets accordingly and overpaid staff.

A source at the Royal said hundreds of staff, who do a range of jobs, have been affected and that some owe £60 while others owe hundreds of pounds. "People haven't budgeted for it. We've only been notified of this at the end of August for it to come out in September's pay packet. It's unfair. This is their fault and they are making no exceptions - everyone is having to pay it."

A spokeswoman for Capita said they would make individual arrangements for those struggling to pay. She said: "Around 550 employees at the trust were under or overpaid between April and June because of a systems error which has since been rectified.”

"We have been working with the trust to establish the best way to rectify the under and overpayments and have agreed to recover monies in line with general NHS practice, which is to recover monies over the same period of which they were paid out. We apologise to employees and to the trust for any inconvenience and upset this has caused them," she added.

Ros Edwards, director of human resources at the Royal, said: "We sympathise with staff who have been affected by this payroll error.”

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