Results from a survey by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) reveals the scale of the impact of the pension tax on consultant retention.
The survey by the RCP, the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow found that almost half (45%) of doctors nearing retirement age have decided to retire earlier than previously planned, with 86 per cent of them citing pension concerns as one of the reasons for this decision.
The survey of 2,800 doctors showed that in the last two years, 38 per cent of clinicians aged 50 to 65 have had an annual pension allowance tax charge due to exceeding their pension threshold.
As a consequence, 62 per cent of senior clinicians said that they avoided extra paid work, such as waiting list initiatives or covering for colleagues. One in four have reduced the number of programmed activities they work and one in five have stepped down from a leadership or other role with extra remuneration.
RCP president Professor Andrew Goddard said: “These findings further demonstrate the need to urgently reform the pensions system in this current tax year in order to prevent additional pressure on the NHS.
“We simply cannot wait until the next tax year for a solution. Every week the issue remains, more hard-working doctors will reduce their hours, driving up waiting times for patients and driving down staff morale."