Doctors’ leaders have called on the Defence Secretary to intervene in a mounting pension crisis which they fear could lead to an exodus of doctors from the country’s military medical workforce at a time when it is already suffering from widespread shortages.
In a letter to Penny Mordant MP, the recently appointed Defence Secretary, the BMA calls for rapid reform to changes to the NHS Pension scheme, which also apply to the doctors in the Armed Forces.
This had led to some doctors receiving large tax bills when they breach the annual allowance, a powerful disincentive to working longer hours or continuing to work until retirement.
Commenting on the letter, which is a follow up to a previous letter to the last Defence Secretary, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of BMA council, said:
“The Health and Social Care Secretary has recently acknowledged that there have been unintended consequences from the Government’s changes to the NHS and military doctors’ pension schemes. Yet there remains no sign of a plan from ministers that will prevent doctors from receiving prohibitively high tax bills which could deter them from working longer hours or taking the decision to retire early.
“This will exacerbate an already worrying shortage of military doctors and have a direct impact on the nation’s ability to provide effective care and support to the country’s military personnel. The latest availabledata shows that that are 558 trained medical officers in the Armed Forces when operational capacity should be at 723, a 23 per cent shortfall. We cannot afford in this situation to deteriorate yet further.
“This is an urgent crisis that cannot be put on hold. If not addressed, this will severely damage the operational ability of our armed forces.”
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.