The Scottish Government has announced long-awaited plans to introduce a temporary scheme that will allow senior doctors affected by punitive pension taxation charges to opt-out of the current NHS pension scheme and receive their employer contributions as part of their basic salary.
This interim policy will provide eligible staff with an alternative option to restricting their hours in order to reduce financial penalties and will ensure crucial services are maintained as demand on the health service continues to increase.
Details of the announcement can be found here.
Commenting, BMA’s Scottish Consultants Committee chair Dr Graeme Eunson said:
“This is a welcome move from the Scottish Government and will hopefully provide some urgent short-term relief to some senior doctors who are facing harsh punitive pension taxation charges. We have pushed the Scottish Government hard to act within the limited powers it has on this issue. Of course, this scheme does not deliver everything we have asked for, but it is absolutely a step in the right direction.
“Most importantly, as we enter the crucial winter period it will help protect patient care, keep our emergency departments staffed and deal with challenging waiting lists. These are the vital NHS services that have been suffering as doctors are forced to cut their hours out of fear of a perverse tax system that essentially makes them pay to go to work.
“However, while we welcome this move, more fundamentally we need UK-wide tax reforms before the end of this financial year in order to prevent these bills from hitting doctors again next year. I would urge everyone who is eligible for this scheme, and who feel they would benefit from it, to get their applications in as soon as possible, in order to make the most of what is available to them.”
The BMA will continue to put pressure on the Treasury to come up with a permanent solution to this issue before the start of the next financial year.