Membership data from the NHS Pension Scheme shows the number of hospital doctors and general practitioners (GPs) claiming their pension earlier than their normal pension age.
Whilst the scheme does not require individuals to give reasons for claiming their pension, the rise in voluntary early retirement rates coincides with reductions in pension tax allowances over the same period. The annual and lifetime allowances limit the amount by which an individual can grow their pension tax-free each year and in total. There is emerging evidence that pension tax may be a factor in doctors deciding to retire early or limit their National Health Service commitments. There are of course other factors, such as workload.
The Government is alive to the issues raised by senior clinicians, and keeps the impact of public sector pay and pensions policies under constant review, taking account of total reward and fiscal considerations.
The following table shows the number of hospital doctors and GPs claiming their NHS Pension on a voluntary early retirement basis from the 1995 NHS Pension Scheme.