BMA: Gov’s pensions solutions are ‘sticking plasters’

23rd September 2022 by NASGP

BMA: Gov’s pensions solutions are ‘sticking plasters’

The health secretary’s proposed solutions for the NHS pensions crisis are ‘sticking plasters’, not the long-term fix doctors need, the BMA pensions committee chair said.

Dr Vishal Sharma warned that inflation and problems with the Finance Act meant that many GPs will be forced into retirement by huge tax bills on ‘non-existent’ pensions growth.

“Whilst moving the revaluation date in the scheme rules will at best partially mitigate the problem, it does not solve it and for some doctors it may make matters worse,” Dr Sharma warned.

“Following public sector pension reforms, most NHS staff are members of two different but connected schemes. The Government must urgently correct the anomaly that negative growth in one scheme can neither be offset against growth in another, nor carried forward or backwards into alternative tax years.”

The health secretary Dr Thérèse Coffey promised to correct pension rules relating to inflation and extend measures to help doctors stay in and return to the NHS, but made no commitment to delivering ‘pension recycling’.

Last July the Health & Select Committee called the unresolved problem a ‘national scandal’.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “There comes a point where one really has to question why this government is not listening to the clear calls from the BMA to follow their simple, pragmatic corrections to fix the NHS pensions problem, fairly and equitably, benefiting patients and taxpayers.

“Yesterday’s announcement to create a two-week imperative on GPs to give patients an appointment slot that may not exist was already enough to make GPs think about retiring early. Actually nobbling GPs’ income through this inaction on pensions is only going to make more of us hang up our stethoscopes even earlier.”

"Thank you for many years of help and support in an increasingly difficult job as a sessional GP in the NHS."

Dr Bettina James, GP

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