BMA Northern Ireland comment on changes to pensions

Press release from BMA Northern Ireland

Location: Northern Ireland
Published: Wednesday 15 March 2023

Speaking about today’s announcement in the budget that annual allowance will be increased and the lifetime allowance is abolished, Dr Tom Black, BMA NI Council chair said, “The BMA has lobbied consistently for pensions reform as the current rules are a huge barrier to experienced doctors staying in employment.”

The pension taxation rules have financially penalised thousands of senior doctors, leaving many with little option but to reduce their hours or retire early. This, at a time when patients are on ever growing waiting lists, desperately needing the expert care that senior doctors provide.

Continuing Dr Black said, “The changes announced today will reduce the unfair extra tax bills many doctors were facing and will hopefully mean they will reconsider retiring early, but there is still a need to fix an over complicated taxation system and address other pensions and pay issues in Northern Ireland including employer pension contribution recycling and the slow application of pay uplifts.

“However, there is no doubt that the desire to retire early goes beyond pension worries. In repeated surveys our members have told us they feel burnt out, over worked and unappreciated. They are working in a system that is crumbling around them where the need for radical transformation has never been more urgent.

“Only by addressing workforce planning, workload and the overall functioning of the health service will we be able to reverse any of the current issues and really address the issues patients face.”

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