The British Medical Association (BMA), along with several of the UK’s most prominent health bodies, including royal colleges, have written to the chancellor urging him to use the Budget to provide a long-term solution to the pension taxation crisis.
The letter calls on chancellor Rishi Sunak to provide a result that enables all doctors and allied health professionals to do the extra work that patients need without the fear of incurring unexpected pension tax bills.
The eleven signatories, which, together represent tens of thousands of hospital doctors and GPs, state that the medical profession is facing an intolerable dilemma: incur a disproportionate and ever-expanding pensions tax bill or cut short their service to the NHS, reducing hours or turning down additional work.
They write: “We are encouraged that the government has committed to announcing a resolution to this issue in the Budget, but it must be the right one; one which will safeguard the NHS workforce for the long-term.
“We are past the point when significant action should have been taken. The NHS is amid a workforce crisis, with rising waiting times for cancer and routine surgery. A&E performance it at its worst since records began and 11 million patients are experiencing unacceptable waiting times for GP appointments.”
The letter continues: “It is essential that such a reform of pension taxation policies is implemented as soon as possible. This change is supported by the signatories of this letter and the tens of thousands of doctors our organisations represent.”
A Treasury spokesperson told OnMedica: “We want to make sure that doctors spend as much time as possible treating patients. That’s why we are urgently reviewing the pensions tapered annual allowance to ensure doctors aren’t turning down extra shifts. The review will report at March Budget.”
Mr Sunak, the new chancellor, has confirmed the Budget will take place on 11 March 2020.
The signatories to the letter are:
- The Royal College of Surgeons
- Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England
- The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
- The Royal College of Physicians
- The Royal College of Pathologists
- The Royal College of General Practitioners
- The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
- The Royal College of Radiologists
- The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
- UK Faculty of Public Health