NHS Scotland pension tax changes to boost retention announced

  • Dawn O'Shea
  • UK Professional News
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The Scottish Government has announced new pension measures in an effort to help NHS Scotland “retain highly experienced staff”.

In a statement issued yesterday (18 November), it announced an interim policy which will give eligible NHS staff the option to get their employer pension contributions paid to them as part of their basic pay. The policy will be introduced on 1 December and will run until the end of the current financial year on 31 March 2020.

The announcement follows a recent survey from the Royal College of Physicians which showed that many doctors are choosing to reduce their working hours or retire early due to the punitive pension tax liabilities.

“This new temporary policy will provide eligible staff with an alternative option to restricting their hours in order to reduce financial penalties and will ensure crucial services are maintained as demand on the health service continues to increase,” a statement from the Scottish Government said. 

Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Jeane Freeman, said: “Our hard-working staff should not face a financial penalty for working to provide vital services for patients, and I have repeatedly called for action from the UK Government on this as this matter is reserved.

“Our staff are valued and they should be supported and able to work for our NHS and its patients for as long as they wish. This is just one of the steps we are taking to ensure we retain and build a sustainable medical workforce.”

The interim scheme will be available to all staff who can provide evidence that they are likely to breach the Annual Allowance (AA) in the 2019/20 financial year. Eligible staff who apply and are accepted will be paid in lieu of pension contributions and will pay tax and national insurance on this payment.