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Annual allowance

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The BMA aims to support its members by ensuring that they are aware of the tax implications of the annual allowance and by giving them the tools to assess the impact of their personal situation.

Latest update

The Government announced in August, following tireless campaigning by the BMA, that there would be a new approach to exploring solutions to punitive pensions taxation charges.

One aspect of this approach is a new consultation on flexibilities within the NHS pensions scheme. While we do not consider this a solution to the problem caused by current taxation policies, it is a step forward.

You can read the BMA response to the consultation below. Read more from the BMA pensions committee chair.

BMA response


BMA Goldstone pensions modeller

The BMA has developed the 'BMA Goldstone pensions modeller' with Dr Tony Goldstone. It calculates, to a good degree of accuracy, annual allowance charges going forward for:

  • consultants across the UK on the 1995, 2008 and 2015 pension schemes
  • SAS doctors on the 2008 scheme. 

Find out more 


What is the BMA doing about the annual allowance?

The current Annual and Lifetime Allowance taxation rules are leading some of our most experienced doctors to retire, reduce their workload, abandon leadership positions and stop covering vacancies. The BMA is committed to supporting members by highlighting the tax implications of the allowance and ensuring the government is aware of what a serious situation it is.

This vital area was covered in an open pensions session at the 2019 ARM, which can be viewed online (click on 15:30).

To this end, the BMA has developed slides for consultants in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and consultants and GPs in Scotland to further educate our membership on the complexities of NHS pension schemes, especially with regards to the current annual and lifetime allowance taxation rules.

View the slides for England and Wales

View the slides for Scotland

View the slides for Northern Ireland [PDF]

In addition, we have published guidance outlining arrangements and possible alternative options for those who are active members of the NHS Pension Scheme and who may become affected by the annual and/or lifetime allowances in respect of their pension savings in registered pension schemes in the UK.

Read the guidance

Finally, we have created a short fact sheet to inform you about the AA tax charges, looking at both common factual and fictional beliefs.

Download the fact sheet


Consultant pension flexibilities

NHS Employers have recently released guidance outlining what options are available locally that employers could consider in order to alleviate some of the problems that doctors and other senior NHS workers are facing with respect to pensions taxation.

While it is encouraging that the Government is starting to take the problem seriously, the BMA firmly believe that the only long-term solution lies in pension taxation reform and we will continue to lobby for this on your behalf. 

Read more about the guidance

Replay our pensions Q&A webinar


Pensions saving statement 2018-19

The deadline for receiving your NHS pensions saving statement from the NHS BSA was 6 October 2019. If you have not received yours yet, use our template letter to request it.


BMA letters to Government

Over the past 12 months the BMA has written many letters to the different secretaries of state for health, chancellors, ministers and prime ministers.

In March the BMA’s consultants committee wrote to the chancellor of the exchequer, Philip Hammond, warning that "doctors will be left with no option but to reduce their working hours even further thereby exacerbating an already acute workforce crisis and seriously jeopardising the sustainability of the NHS". The letter also set out the mitigations that needed to be introduced. 

Read the letter to the chancellor

Blog: A not so vocal response from the chancellor - Rob Harwood

The impact on those doctors in the Defence Medical Services has also been raised at ministerial level with the BMA writing to secretary of state for defence, Penny Mordaunt, outlining the serious impact that annual and lifetime allowances is having on armed forces doctors and the UK’s ability to deploy armed forces overseas.

In addition, more than 2,500 doctors have written to their local MP using a BMA tool to outline their own individual circumstances and concerns. This has helped to influence parliamentary debates and has been raised during Prime Minister’s Questions.

You can add your voice to the thousands who have already done so.

Until now, our fears, and the fears of our members over the consequences to the sustainability of the NHS have not been fully appreciated and the solutions presented by us to the Treasury and the Department of Health have gone unanswered. With the election of a new prime minister, we made sure he was aware of the problem at the first opportunity.

Read the letter to the prime minister



If you have assessed your situation and feel you must stop providing your Trust with APAs due to the AA taxation charge, we have composed a template letter to guide your correspondence. This letter has been written for consultants in England. The text should be amended for consultants in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Download the template

For consultants in England and Wales

This video covers pensionable and non-pensionable pay, an overview of the NHS pension schemes, retirement, death in service, ill-health retirement and pensions taxation.


This video covers the background to the problem, why the annual allowance is a problem for consultants, the consequences and what the BMA is doing.




For consultants in Scotland

This video covers contribution rates, the sections, retirement and returning to work and dependants' benefits.


This video covers the background to the problem, why the annual allowance is a problem for consultants, the consequences and what the BMA is doing.


Consultants in Scotland FAQS

Read our FAQs on changing your programmed activities (PA) commitments for consultants in Scotland.


Pensions survey

BMA Scotland asked members to share their experiences of the impact of pension tax charges.Read the final results.