Union bosses have reported East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust to The Pension Regulators for failing to pay contributions to occupational pension schemes.

GMB organiser Garry Palmer said, “A number of our members have spoken to us already in regard to their concerns about the letters they have received from the Pensions Regulator about the Trust’s failure to pay both employer and employee pension contributions on time.

“We are urging all concerned GMB members and other NHS staff in the Trust’s Automatic Enrolment Pension Scheme to contact the payroll department immediately to check that their contributions are being paid in to their pension pots.

“Members are also asking the GMB to seek assurances from ESHT that in the first instance the money is actually there to pay the missing and outstanding contributions immediately of all staff within the scheme and that secondly that they will seek assistance from the regulator and carryout any recommendations they can offer to ensure all contributions are paid on time in the future.

“If this sort of bad practice and incompetence is going to continue by Darren Grayson and his management team, and we suspect it will, then the Trust must at the very least learn to be more honest and open around any issues of financial shortages or errors which will impact upon staff within the Trust as soon as they arise, and not allow staff to hear in the first instance through the post by external bodies.”

The trust stressed that the NHS pensions were unaffected – and the issue was not caused by cash problems.

Vanessa Harris, director of finance for the Trust, said, “The Trust has experienced some administrative problems that have led to a delay in payment of the occupational pension contributions for a small number of staff.

“ The Trust is in the process of resolving this issue and payments are being brought up to date.

“The sums involved are relatively small and there is no question of this being caused by cash problems at the Trust.

“We would like to stress that the vast majority of our staff are part of the NHS pension scheme which has not been affected in any way by this administrative problem.”