Research carried out by the BMJ has found evidence that some NHS trusts are taking action to tackle the NHS pensions crisis ahead of the government’s proposed national solution, because of concerns about the impact on workforce.
Frustrated with government inaction, several trusts across England are putting in place their own schemes to help plan for increased demand over the winter.
With many senior doctors having cut their hours or retiring early to avoid punitive tax charges, the British Medical Association (BMA) has described the situation as “the greatest immediate threat” to medical workforce capacity and patient services.
The most recent survey by the BMA earlier this month found that of 6,170 respondents, 42 per cent of GPs and 30 per cent of consultants had reduced their working hours because of pension tax charges.
The BMJ found that, as of July 2019, at least 16 trusts had either set up or were considering some form of salary flexibility scheme.
The BMA says the new proposed flexibilities will provide short-term relief for many doctors but adds that they do not tackle the core and underlying problem, which lies in wider tax reform.