Government Launches Consultation on Pension Amendments to Retain GPs

While I welcome the Government’s consultation on amendments to the NHS pension scheme, aimed at retaining senior GPs and other doctors who currently incur punitive taxation and cuts to their pensions if they continue to work, the proposals fall far short of what the BMA has advised and what GPs actually need.

There are thousands of highly experienced senior and retired GPs who would be willing to work a number of hours a week to alleviate the desperate GP shortage and the workloads of practising GPs. According to the Department and Health and Social Care the proposed amendments will enable retired and partially retired doctors to return to work or increase their working hours without payments to their pension being cut or suspended.

However, the BMA warned that Government proposals to reform NHS pensions ‘are too little too late’ and fall short of what is actually needed to prevent doctors facing punitive tax bills. While the detail of the proposals are being considered, it seems doctors will continue to ‘incur sky-high and completely unexpected tax bills’ and the proposals fall well short of a long-term solution, the BMA pensions committee chair said.

‘These doctors will still have to consider reducing the work they do to prevent incurring large punitive tax bills and it is disingenuous of the Government to suggest that this will make any meaningful difference to the huge backlogs in care we are seeing.’

He added that a recent BMA survey suggested that over 40% of consultants plan to leave the NHS in some capacity over the next 12 months and the situation is just as stark for GPs and other senior doctors. 

The reforms are expected to be implemented in Spring 2023 and I hope that the Minister of Health, Will Quince, will be listening to the BMA and GPs on the front line over the next eight week consultation period instead of assuming the proposed changes go far enough. We just don’t have enough GPs to fill vacancies and patients are suffering.

About the author
Ash Higgs Managing Director

Ash Higgs is the Managing Director of MCG Healthcare. He has a long-demonstrated history working in recruitment and has now been involved in the medical industry for over 5 years. During this time, he has gained a strong understanding of the issues that both Primary & Secondary Care are facing regarding the recruitment of healthcare professionals.

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