Punitive changes to pension arrangements are having a devastating effect on doctors and health services, a BMA Scotland survey reveals.
Of more than 350 doctors who responded to the survey during a two-week period, 63 per cent had received a large pension tax bill, and a further 21 per cent were worried that they may be due to receive a bill. The average bill reported by affected doctors was £18,500.
More than half of the respondents said they had either already reduced their workload or were planning to, in order to keep earnings below tax thresholds. Nearly a quarter of respondents said they were considering early retirement as a result of the pension changes.
BMA Scotland consultants committee chair Simon Barker said the seriousness of this situation and its implications cannot be overstated.
“Make no mistake - our consultant workforce is already stretched to its limit, with high levels of vacancies. Added to this we are now seeing doctors across the profession cutting down their work due to a completely justified fear that they will be hit with huge pension tax bills that are extremely hard to foresee.
“The inherent unfairness of unpredictable additional taxation levied now, yet for a future benefit that may never be realised, is something that anyone can recognise, except the UK Treasury apparently,” Mr Barker said.
“We desperately need a long-term solution from Westminster - such as ending the taper and revising the allowances and thresholds - but we also need swift progress in Scotland to put mitigations in place as the Treasury continues to procrastinate. With NHS services under serious threat, only prompt, serious and practical action will do,” he said.