Hospital Dr News

Tax payer will meet the cost of NHS consultants’ extra pensions tax bills in 2019/2020

The NHS will meet the costs of pension tax bills run up by senior doctors for 2019/2020 tax year.

NHS England CEO Simon Stevens has taken the measure in an attempt to ameliorate staff shortages this winter, as many senior doctors have reduced their working hours.

The temporary fix is intended to stop doctors refusing shifts and waiting list initiatives to avoid the pension taper tax penalties, which have hit many in the 2018/2019 tax year.

The one-year pre-election deal will see doctors pay tax bills out of their pensions initially, in exchange for NHS-funded top-ups at retirement.

Professor Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said: “This is fantastic news and means that clinicians can finally deliver the best patient care without having to worry about the impact of punitive pension taxes.

“We know that NHS England have worked hard to resolve a problem not of their own making. It is a much needed in-year short-term fix.

“The gauntlet has now been thrown down to whoever wins the general election, to find a long-term solution that will ensure those in the later stages of their medical careers know that they are valued.”

Professor Derek Bell OBE, president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, agreed that “we still need to see a sustainable position on NHS pensions for the UK outlined by the Treasury”.

The new plan, formally announced today, will effectively see these bills met by the taxpayer when doctors reach retirement age.

Jon Greer, head of retirement policy at Quilter, said: “It would be a radical move by the Government to pay the pension tax bills of NHS workers.

“It is an effective admission that the pension annual allowance taper is a broken policy that is too unpredictable and punitive, however it has taken the country to be on the cusp of a winter crisis in the NHS during an election for the Government to address it.

“This would be a controversial policy given it offers NHS staff special treatment and ignores large swathes of high earning public sector workers who provide critical services everyday such as judges, teachers and transport workers.”

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