We very much welcome this week’s announcement by the government to increase the flexibility of pension contributions for senior clinicians. The current inflexibility causes gaps in clinical rotas and in key areas of operational management and leadership, detrimentally affecting patient care, as senior staff reduce their working hours, don’t take promotions or decide to retire earlier in order to avoid incurring significant tax bills.
The pension issue is a key contributor to the significant workforce challenges within the NHS and therefore one to be urgently resolved. Vacancy numbers are at an all-time high within the senior levels of almost all NHS professions, not just medical.
Our understanding is that the review does not include non-medical staff or senior managers. Given the above, we therefore urge the Department of Health and Social Care to ensure that the review includes ALL senior NHS staff. Whether doctors, nurses or managers, they all have a critical role in providing patient care.