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At a time when GP workforce numbers are heading in the wrong direction, the punitive pension tax system is further compounding the problem by forcing GPs to retire early or reduce their clinical commitment. We have repeatedly expressed our concerns about the current system and the unintended but serious consequences this is having on patient care and workforce morale.
In the 2019/20 England GP contract reform document, we outlined our plans to explore adopting something similar to the local government 50:50 pension scheme for GPs. The BMA has already outlined a number of similar temporary mitigations for doctors across the NHS and beyond which, if swiftly applied, would stop experienced doctors leaving the NHS or reducing their hours. We have reviewed the proposed 50:50 scheme and it is clear that, by itself, this proposal will not remove the disincentive for GPs to reduce their working hours. The system needs wider reform. Given the complexities of the NHS pension scheme and the fact that individual circumstances vary, it is essential that flexibility offers far more than simply decreasing contributions in return for reduced pension benefits.
Given the unintended consequences that have arisen as a result of separate changes to the NHS pension scheme and the introduction of the tapered annual allowance, it is essential that these options are no more than a short-term mitigation. In the long-term, the much-needed reform of the pensions taxation system must be undertaken to address the root cause of these issues.
As a part of this, we’re asking you to take a couple of minutes to write to your MP, outlining the impact this is having on your professional lives and the wider NHS. If you haven’t already, please take a moment to complete our survey – this will give us valuable information to lobby governments to remove these disincentives decimating the GP workforce.
You can find out more about the work the BMA is doing on this and other pension issues here.
Krishna Kasaraneni is a member of the GPC executive
I think pension is very important part of the employment and should be considered.
Thank you sir,