Government backs pension flexibility to stop taxes undermining NHS workforce by Senior Consultant Chad Atwal

The government is looking to make pensions more flexible for senior doctors and will consult on this matter.

In recent months, fears over staff attrition in the NHS have increased due to the tax implications of breaching the lifetime or annual allowance.

Under the proposals now put forward, known as a 50:50 plan, the government argues high-earning clinicians would be able to take better advantage of pension provision and working patterns by building their NHS pension more gradually, with steadier contributions to avoiding significant tax charges on a regular basis. By halving pension contributions in exchange for half the rate of pension growth, the government argues that doctors would be able to take on additional shifts or fill rota gaps with less concerns over the tax implications.

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘Each and every senior consultant, nurse or GP is crucial to the future of our NHS, yet we are losing too many of our most experienced people early because of frustrations over pensions.

“We have listened to the concerns of hardworking staff across the country and are determined to find a solution that better supports our senior clinicians so we can continue to attract and keep the best people.”

The government said the new pension flexibility would be available to ‘senior clinicians who can demonstrate they expect to face an annual allowance charge’, which would mean doctors who have built up more than £40,000 of benefit in their NHS pension in a year, or those who have an adjusted income of over £150,000.

If you are concerned about the impact of tax charges on your Public Sector pension, please get in touch to discuss with one of our consultants.