Pensions crisis is biggest threat to medical workforce, new prime minister warned

Author: Ingrid Torjesen
Pensions crisis is biggest threat to medical workforce, new prime minister warned

The British Medical Association (BMA) has warned new prime minister Boris Johnson that the greatest threat to the medical workforce is the punitive pension taxation.

In the starkly worded letter BMA’s chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul, wrote: “During the leadership campaign, the BMA welcomed your commitment to ‘fix’ the lifetime allowance – but we also pointed out that the problems doctors face are further exacerbated by the annual allowance and tapered annual allowance. Without action by the Treasury to address the cumulative impact of these policies, doctors will have no choice but to reduce the amount of work they do for the NHS, or leave it entirely, to avoid unexpected tax bills that can be four, five, or even six figures in some cases.”

The NHS already has 10,000 unfilled medical vacancies, Dr Nagpaul added. “We simply cannot afford to lose any more or for those staff we do have to reduce their availability, which is precisely what we are seeing as a result of current government taxation policy.”

In his open letter, Dr Nagpaul also advised Johnson that if, as he stated, he wished to bring down GP waiting times, then he must act to address the GP workforce problem and vastly improve the availability of support in the community.

Dr Nagpaul also highlighted the dangers of a “no deal” Brexit to the NHS. “Brexit is clearly at the forefront of your agenda. The BMA is alarmed at the prospect of a ‘no deal’ Brexit and we have repeatedly warned that such an outcome could have potentially catastrophic consequences across the NHS. Given these risks, I am urging you take every possible step to avoid ‘no deal’.”