Hancock orders consultation into doctors’ pension issues

26 Jul 19

Health secretary Matt Hancock has announced a consultation on NHS pensions, after changes to rules appear to have resulted in a reduction of doctor hours. 

Matt HancockHancock said he was “listening to doctors” about issues with pension schemes that have seen senior doctors cutting back on hours, rejecting promotions and even retiring early to avoid higher tax bills. 

Changes to the NHS pension scheme introduced in 2016 reduced the amount high earners can save into their pensions tax-free. 

Hancock said: “Too many of our most experienced clinicians are reducing their hours, or leaving the NHS early because of frustrations over their pension.

“I want them to know that I am listening and I want to work with them to fix it for the sake of patients.”

Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive at NHS Providers, described the pensions debacle as “an immediate and major problem for the NHS and the wider public sector”.

“While trusts are taking whatever steps they can to manage this problem, we can’t afford to wait for a long consultation process. To gain the confidence of NHS staff we need to see a speedy and meaningful resolution,” she said.

The pensions saga has had an impact on NHS performance with NHS trusts dealing with growing waiting lists.

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said: “We recognise the complexity of this area and welcome the opportunity to share our views on how employers, trade unions and NHS Pensions can work together to improve the design and delivery of the pension scheme.”   

The consultation will run until mid-October.

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