NHS Pension Scheme: Tapered Annual Allowance

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:01 am on 2nd April 2019.

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Photo of Paul Masterton Paul Masterton Conservative, East Renfrewshire 11:01 am, 2nd April 2019

I thank the hon. Gentleman for raising another specific case. I hope the Minister will bear in mind the added weight of evidence.

Another of my constituents, who has worked as an NHS constituent for 14 years at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow told me that he is employed on a 40-hour per week full-time contract and provides eight hours per week of additional clinical work, making 48 hours in total. He does not do any private practice outside the NHS, but he was hit with an unexpected bill of nearly £17,000 as a result of the tapered annual allowance. The only way the consultant can avoid those charges is to reduce his income below the various thresholds, and the only way he can reduce his income is to reduce the amount of work he does for the NHS. He has told me that he has no desire to do that and would happily volunteer to do extra work occasionally at weekends to tackle waiting lists or fill gaps in the service, but the tax implications make that impossible and he has already stopped doing any extra work.

Another consultant from East Renfrewshire with 16 years’ experience—eight as a consultant—told me that he was actively declining extra work to support stretched services in order to avoid the tax penalties. That means that he does not apply for the discretionary points that are awarded for additional work that is taken on above the normal daily remit, such as developing new services, research and teaching. As Mr Sweeney said, that impacts not just on the daily running of services, but on the development of a culture of excellence within the NHS.