Radical Changes to Doctors’ Pensions Introduced

Radical Changes to Doctors’ Pensions Introduced

The Conservatives are taking radical steps to ensure the NHS has the frontline staff it needs this winter. Pressures on the NHS this winter are being heightened due to frontline senior clinicians - both doctors and senior nurses - dropping shifts due to concerns that if they work overtime they will face unexpected tax bills. We are taking steps to immediately address doctors' concerns, so they can take on extra shifts over winter.

Today NHSE has written to stakeholders including the British Medical Association (BMA) saying they will make immediate changes to the pension system for this year. For 2019/20 doctors will neither have to make any payments to HMRC now, nor be worse off in retirement as a result of an annual allowance tax charge. 

The Conservatives can also announce today that within the first 30 days of the new government, we will work with the BMA, Academy of Medical Colleges and others to initiate a short review, to find a long term solution to ‘the taper problem’, to come into force in April.

It comes as new figures revealed that there are 3,000 more doctors and 5,000 more nurses working in the NHS than last year.

And it follows Labour’s debacle last week, in which John McDonnell said that Labour’s four-day week would be imposed on NHS – risking staff shortages and costing the NHS billions of pounds.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: 

“We are backing the brilliant staff who work in our NHS, by taking immediate action to ensure no clinician finds themselves worse off in retirement as a result of working overtime. This will help support the NHS this winter, and we will act straight after the election to solve the problem for the long term. 

“It’s in sharp contrast to Labour’s four day week, which would cripple our NHS. It’s further proof that the Conservatives are the party of the NHS.”

  • We are taking urgent action to address the pensions issue. Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHSE, has today written to stakeholders, including the BMA and Royal College of Physicians, to inform them of immediate changes being made to the NHS pension system for this year. For 2019/20 doctors will neither have to make any payments to HMRC now, nor be worse off in retirement as a result of an annual allowance tax charge.  (Twitter, NHS England, 22 November 2019, link)  
  • We have already taken steps to alleviate doctors’ concerns. We published a consultation on the Annual Allowance taper and issuing guidance to employers on how existing flexibilities can be used to ensure doctors do not lose out. Dame Pauline Philips, National Director for Emergency and Elective Care for NHS Improvement, also instructed NHS Trusts to urgently offer consultants additional payments.
  • There has been a sharp rise in the numbers of doctors and nurses working in the NHS. The number of doctors in the NHS has risen by 2,988 since August 2018, and the number of nurses on our wards is up 5,385. (NHS Digital, NHS Workforce Statistics – August 2019, 21 November 2019, link).
     
  • We have invested in the NHS and boosted the number of staff since 2010. Under the Conservatives, there are over 18,000 more doctors and almost 17,000 more nurses on our wards. We have also opened five new medical schools to make sure we can train the next generation of NHS staff. (NHS Digital, NHS Workforce Statistics – August 2019, 21 November 2019, link).