The BMA has responded to today’s publication of the interim NHS People Plan and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’s agreement to consult on NHS pension reform.
BMA Chair of Council, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said:
"For many months, the BMA has been expressing concerns about the current pension taxation system, the unintended but serious consequences this is having on patient care and the wider NHS and so we welcome the fact that the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and NHS England have today acknowledged the problem.
"We welcome that in his announcement the Secretary of State has stated that in addition to the 50:50 proposal in the interim People Plan, he is willing to discuss with the BMA other models for pension flexibility in order mitigate the current disincentives for doctors to provide NHS services.
"The BMA has already outlined a number of temporary mitigations which, if swiftly applied, would stop experienced doctors leaving the NHS or reducing the hours of patient care they provide and we are pleased that this is a step in the right direction for reform. We have modelled the proposed 50:50 scheme and it is clear that, by itself, this proposal will not remove the disincentive for doctors to reduce their working hours. It needs to be part of wider reform.
"Given the complexities of the NHS pension scheme and the fact that individual circumstances vary, it is essential that any flexibility offers far more than simply paying half of the employee’s contribution in order for half the accrual of pension. There needs to be the ability to recycle the employer’s pension contribution on the percentage of pay that is no longer pensionable. This is commonplace in other sectors with the Chancellor describing such payments as ‘regular’.
"In addition 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 whilst the much needed reform of the pensions taxation system is undertaken”.
Notes to Editors
The BMA is a trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.