RCoA welcomes pension taxation reforms

Published: 15/03/2023

Following a sustained campaign from organisations across the sector including the RCoA, the Government has announced welcome reforms to pension taxation that will help retain senior doctors in the NHS at a time when they are most needed.

The measures announced are very positive developments. In 2020 our census showed that 14.4% of consultants were reducing their hours due to pension taxation, which is a huge waste of capacity and expertise, and has been one of the factors fuelling the record surgical backlog. Being able to retain senior doctors in all specialties will benefit patients across the NHS.

The RCoA has pressed hard for changes like these. Over the past few years we have highlighted the issue in our reports, raised the matter in person and in writing with Ministers in the Department of Health and the Treasury, and worked with MPs and Lords to get questions tabled in Parliament. We are glad that the Government has now taken the kind of substantial action needed to tackle the issue. We are also grateful to our members who have shared their experiences and enabled us to make such a strong and compelling case.

We do, however, recognise that while reform of pension taxation is welcome, it is not sufficient to fully address the staff shortages that are at the root of many of the current challenges in the NHS. These shortages are severely limiting the ability to reduce waiting lists and deliver timely and effective patient care, as well as putting our members and their colleagues under unsustainable pressure. We are pleased to see the Chancellor commit to the imminent publication of the long-term workforce plan for the NHS, but that plan must include a commitment to providing the funding and training places necessary to deliver it.   

Dr Fiona Donald