The NHS Confederation today hailed promises by the Prime Minister to tackle the current pension crisis in the health service which it says is already damaging patient care.
Following pressure from NHS organisations the government has agreed to consult on proposals to introduce pension changes to enable senior clinicians to take on additional clinical activities without incurring unexpected pension tax bills, and to review the annual allowance taper which is causing so many problems.
Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:
“Operations are being delayed and cancelled. Doctors and other senior staff are reducing their hours and, in some cases, leaving the NHS – all because of a failure to think through the full consequences and effects of changes to taxation policy. We need a solution for the sake of patients and our staff and we need it now.
“This guidance from NHS Employers, which is part of the NHS Confederation, will be welcomed by staff, employers and patients because it will increase awareness of the different options available now to support staff during this financial year.
“However, problems for patients will intensify without government reform of the annual allowance taper and the introduction of new flexibilities into the current NHS pension scheme arrangements.
“In his response to our call for action, the Prime Minister has assured us that the Treasury will now review how the annual allowance taper operates to support the delivery of public services such as the NHS. We will have to see how this will work in practice but we regard this as a significant move and change cannot come fast enough.”