Mass Exodus of GPs and Punishing Pensions Tax for Doctors Mean Patients Suffer More

Two articles in completely different media outlets (Pulse magazine for GPs and the Daily Mail) have highlighted the enormous problems the NHS is facing with GP numbers- an issue we are only too aware of at MCG Healthcare as competition for candidates to fill vacant jobs gets fiercer every day. There just aren’t enough GPs or doctors available for work in the UK, resulting in 6.36 million people on waiting lists for more than a year for treatment.

Undoubtedly we have some of the best medical practitioners in the world but a pensions tax system which financially punishes senior or retired doctors if they take extra shifts or come out of retirement is just madness. Apparently a consultant declined NHS shifts worth £10,000 because she’d have had to pay £14,000 in tax.  If a doctor’s pension increases by more than £40,000, they have to make a one off payment of an extra 45%. Not an incentive to get experienced well trained doctors to do more shifts or come back into the profession.

According to the Department of Health and Social Care, ‘NHS pensions for doctors are generous and well remunerated careers mean some senior doctors exceed their allowance for tax free pensions.’ I don’t know about you, but if I or a member of my family is sick, I don’t care what a doctor earns, to me – and I’m sure most people – they are worth every penny and more.

Encouraging experienced doctors to do more work or get back into the profession makes complete sense to me when, according to a survey in Pulse magazine, 19,000 GPs and trainees are planning to leave the profession in the next five years. 19,000 fewer GPs when there is a serious national shortage already! They aren’t asking for more money, just a relief from insane workloads, bureaucracy and box ticking exercises.

What we need is an increase of at least 10% for GP training places and a dramatic change to visa rules for international GPs to live and work in the UK. We’re at the coalface, we know there are literally thousands of well qualified GPs abroad who would jump at the chance to work in the UK.

We desperately need some bold decision making and action from the Health Secretary, the NHS and Dept of Work and Pensions to make some radical but essential changes so that our NHS can at least match the standards of other publicly funded healthcare systems in the  world.

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.

Looking for a new job? We’ll help you find the perfect one!