‘Nearly half of GPs reduce their hours over pension changes’

2 Aug 19

A survey by the British Medical Association trade union has found 42% of GPs have reduced their hours to avoid being excessively taxed on their pensions.

Among the more than 6,000 doctors from hospitals and general practice across England, Wales and Northern Ireland who took part in the survey, a further 34% said they were planning to reduce their hours.

For hospital consultants, 30% have reduced their hours already with a further 40% intending to cut their hours going forward.

Pension changes from 2016 mean that earners on more than £110,000 have been handed a new limit on pensions contributions before they are liable for tax.

This has seen several senior doctors reducing their hours, refusing promotions and even retiring early.

Chair of the BMA GP committee Dr Richard Vautrey said: “These results show the extent to which GPs are being forced to reduce their hours or indeed leave the profession altogether because of pension taxes.

“With patient lists growing and the numbers of GPs failing, swift and decisive action is needed from the government to end this shambolic situation and to limit the damage that a punitive pensions taxation system is inflicting on doctors, their patients and across the NHS as a whole.”

Health secretary Matt Hancock responded last week by launching a consultation on NHS pensions to tackle the issue.

The survey findings come just days after chair of the BMA council Chaand Nagpaul wrote to the new prime ministerurging him to address the pensions problem.

Dr Robin Harwood, chair of the BMA consultants committee, said: “The majority of consultants are contracted to work an average of 46 hours per week and we know that, in order to avoid tax bills of several thousands of pounds, many have given up, or want to give up, 10 hours a week.

“Across the country, that represents several hundred thousand hours of patient time lost. We are being put in an intolerable position because of these taxes and our patients are suffering because of it.”

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