Doctors: Pensions

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 9th May 2019.

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Photo of Alex Norris Alex Norris Labour/Co-operative, Nottingham North

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the effect of the Annual and Lifetime Allowance taxation rules on rates of early retirement among doctors.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

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.

Scheme Year

Hospital Doctors

GPs

2011-12

315

513

2012-13

387

591

2013-14

406

746

2014-15

453

739

2015-16

494

695

2016-17

490

721

2017-18

424

588

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