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It should come as no surprise that the BMA is relentlessly campaigning for urgent changes to pension taxation polices to ensure doctors are not dissuaded from covering additional shifts or encouraged to retire early because of perverse pension taxation penalties.
The BMA is pushing this issue both to support doctors but also to protect our patients. We know that, if doctors are forced to turn down additional shifts and continue to leave the profession early, patient demand cannot be met. Waiting lists will continue to grow and specialist skill sets will be lost both to patients and trainees.
It is simply not reasonable to expect doctors to be worse off for doing more work.
I have heard it said that the pension reform we are calling for is nothing more than a bonus for senior staff. I reject this accusation and want to be clear that the pension taxation reform we are proposing, including the suite of mitigations, is nothing or the sort. It is a much-needed way of correcting an unfair and perverse system that has resulted in doctors turning down work that the NHS needs them to do.
Doctors are currently working in fear of being financially penalised for going above and beyond their regular duties to plug NHS workforce gaps, and for using the skills they have worked decades to perfect. All we are asking is that doctors are paid for the work they do. Our proposals are a solution to a specific problem and should be applied to all those who are affected.
The BMA supports measures to improve the working conditions and pay of health workers across the NHS, we back nurses as they call for a reinstatement of the NHS Bursary Scheme and we have been vocal in our concern that the real living wage is not received by everyone employed by the NHS. For clarity, we are suggesting that the BMA’s solutions are applied to all those who have suffered from the impacts of huge annual allowance taxation charges.
It is clear that the NHS needs staff from many work groups in order to function smoothly. To suggest that we are looking out for ourselves at the expense of others is wrong and seeks only to divide the NHS workforce and to pitch one side against another. We are campaigning for the best possible NHS, one based on fairness and principle and we are grateful for the support we have received from across the healthcare sector.
While we acknowledge the recent steps government has taken to re-issue its consultation on introducing flexibilities to the NHS Pension Scheme, and are encouraged by the Treasury’s eventual agreement to sit down with the BMA and other unions to discuss pension taxation reform – this is still too little too late. What we need is a commitment now, from government, to undertake reform of pension taxation, together with an assurance that this reform will take place in time for the next tax year.
Without this we will lose increasing numbers of dedicated doctors and other senior healthcare staff – producing even more NHS gaps and even greater waiting list growth.
Please support our campaign by responding to the government’s new consultation. Following the interest expressed by our members we have provided a template response to this complex and detailed consultation which encapsulates the experiences, concerns and priorities expressed by the doctors we represent.
However, we are keen that this template also allows members the opportunity to truly personalise their response, so we are asking those affected to share their own experiences of the impact of current pension taxation policies and to join us in calling for wider pension taxation reform.
Rob Harwood is the BMA consultants committee chair
Like many consultants my 1995 scheme pot value went down last year, but I understand this cannot be offset against the increase in my 2015 scheme. This seems deeply unfair, and the total increase of both schemes should be what is calculated in my view
When do we go on strike! Just say the word.....like public enemy said in one of their songs: the government is gangster so cut the crap!
What's the update on "the suite of mitigations"?
fully support and the government should be taken to court
Fully support !
5 months of a responsibility payment left me with a pension tax bill of £11,000 ! We cannot accept paying to work.
Completely support the BMA
I have already taken early retirement with part-time return to work because of the tax changes. The best decision ever. I want to thank the government for the annual allowance because it made me rethink my commitment to the NHS. I now have a much better work : life balance, but my patients have a much longer waiting list as I am a single-handed hospital specialist...
I don't seem to have come across any reference to the facts that higher paid NHS staff pay a higher proportion of their salary into the pension. So one consultant on£100k puts in £14k, while 10 cleaners on £10k each put in a total of £4k (approx.), or that senior staff are likely to still be higher-rate tax-payers when they take their pension. So any discouragement so continuing membership of the scheme ultimately reduces public funds.
This pension crisis has been brewing for the last 4 years. Why is it only recently that the BMA has got its act together and started to fight this travesty? The police and firefighters union were much quicker off the block. My feeling is that this wasn’t taken seriously by the higher echelons of the BMA because most of them were of the age where this wouldn’t affect them much. The same happened when they accepted the inferior 2015 pension scheme for ‘younger’ members.
I am not quite sure who the BMA Is representing here by even contemplating ‘flexibility ‘. Younger consultants will have to choose between pension or income but they cannot do both! When faced with a young family and a big mortgage, I know which one they will choose meaning that many in years to come will retire in relative poverty. We are demoralised and it is so sad to see so many of my consultant colleagues looking for exit strategies from the NHS. We have had enough.
I don’t mind admitting that I find it too complicated to work out what I will pay in taxes next year after receiving pension growth last year of £15,000 but this year it has bounced to over £60,000 ( after an increment) . As I am58 next year and transfer onto the 2015 scheme this complicates even more and possibly makes even worse tax bills.
Basically I’ve reduced my hours but not soon enough to avoid receiving a large tax bill and as I don’t have the control I will retire next year.
The only reason I’m doing this is because of the tax position and lack of any control or choices at this time. I have been careful not to leave my colleagues with the work dumped on them- it is only because of them and my patients I haven’t gone earlier.
I well remember as an SHO being told over and over again as I earned £1.47 an hour for working through every 2nd or 3rd night with no sleep as well as working a normal 40 hour week - “Don’t forget you are earning your pension. “ I think doctors and the general public have forgotten the hours and sleep deprivation we suffered which was only changed after a campaign by the BMA and eventually put into law by The EU .
Please Stop the government moving the goalposts for those who worked and gave up their lives for the NHS.
Surely the negotiation should start with the rejection of the 2015 scheme altogether in light of the positive result for firefighters and judges. When I started working in the NHS I was encourages to stay in the pension scheme as it was worthwhile in recompense for the long hours and 3 day weekends. I feel it is now being pulled out from under my feet.