16th September 2019
The survey of 2,500 consultants earning more than £60,000 a year, found that almost 20% have reduced their working hours, and 42% have cut down on extra shifts. With the risk of being hit with pension bills that could be up to £50,000 a year, some have even been forced to remortgage their homes to pay tax bills, while others are opting to take on more private work as these earnings to do not affect their NHS pensions.
Any consultant earning more than £110,000 a year is at risk of receiving a bill, because the tax-free pension allowance of those earning above that was cut from £40,000 to £10,000. The maximum consultant’s salary is £105,000 for doing 10 ‘programmed activities’ (four-hour sessions of work) a week. But many earn more than that by doing extra work, receiving clinical excellence awards or by taking on managerial roles, all of which can boost their NHS pension pot.
These charges not only affect doctors, but our entire health service. At the recent British Medical Association’s annual conference, representatives of the UK’s 240,000 doctors warned the charges posed “a direct threat to patient care”, representing “an existential crisis” for the NHS. The impact includes longer waiting lists and inferior care.
There are already widespread workforce shortages across the UK, resulting in cancelled operations and long waiting lists, which will only be further strained by fewer senior doctors.
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