Top NHS doctors to be given more flexible pensions
The government has launched proposals to make pensions more flexible for senior clinicians delivering frontline care.
The government will consult on proposals to offer senior clinicians a new pensions option which would allow them to build their NHS pension more gradually over their career by making steadier contributions to avoid facing regular, significant annual allowance tax charges.
The intention is that these changes would mean clinicians can more freely take on additional shifts to reduce waiting lists, fill rota gaps or take on further supervisory responsibilities.
A proposal known as a 50:50 option would allow clinicians to halve their pension contributions in exchange for halving the rate of pension growth.
Senior doctors have said that pension tax charges are discouraging them from taking extra work to support patients and causing them to question whether to remain in the NHS Pension Scheme. An independent review of the GP partnership model found this issue was a factor for many GPs in deciding to retire early. 57% of GPs who retired in 2018 to 2019 took early retirement, a total of 610.
The agreement is an important part of the NHS’s first ever People Plan, published yesterday.
The interim plan focuses on actions to:
- recruit more staff
- make the NHS a great place to work
- support staff to deliver modern care
Retaining the NHS’s highly skilled clinical workforce is an important part of delivering the ambitions for patient care set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.
The government will continue to examine the evidence on how this specific issue affects other public sector workforces.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, said:
‘… we are losing too many of our most experienced people early because of frustrations over pensions. We have listened to the concerns of hardworking staff across the country and are determined to find a solution that better supports our senior clinicians so we can continue to attract and keep the best people. The reforms we are setting out will give clinicians greater flexibility to manage their pensions, have more control over their future, and offer a deal that’s fair to doctors, taxpayers, and the patients they care for.’
A consultation on these new proposals, with more detail, is expected in due course.