Professor Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), has described the new NHS England pensions arrangements as “fantastic news”.
In a letter sent to the Royal Colleges and medical organisations on Friday (22 November), NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens announced that NHS England and NHS Improvement have decided to take “exceptional action” to address the effect the punitive pensions tax is having on clinicians.
Under a new system, qualifying clinicians who face a tax charge in respect of work undertaken this year (2019/20) as a result of reaching their annual pension allowance will be able to defer this charge by choosing ‘Scheme Pays’ on their pension form, meaning that they don’t have to worry about paying the charge now out of their own pocket.
In addition, the NHS will make a contractually-binding commitment to pay them a corresponding amount on retirement, ensuring that they are fully compensated for the effect of the Scheme Pays deduction.
As a result of the new arrangement, clinicians are now immediately able to take on additional shifts or sessions without worrying about an annual allowance charge on their pension.
Welcoming the announcement, Prof Andrew Goddard said: “This is fantastic news and means that clinicians can finally deliver the best patient care without having to worry about the impact of punitive pension taxes.
“We know that NHS England have worked hard to resolve a problem not of their own making. It is a much needed in-year short-term fix,” he said.
“The gauntlet has now been thrown down to whoever wins the general election, to find a long-term solution that will ensure those in the later stages of their medical careers know that they are valued,” he cautioned.