1 in 5 GPs quitting NHS scheme over tax crisis

One in five (19 per cent) general practitioners (GPs) have quit the NHS Pension Scheme to avoid tax penalties for exceeding the tapered annual allowance, according to a survey from GP Online.

Of this 19 per cent, 12 per cent had left the scheme permanently, while 7 per cent had quit temporarily.

Furthermore, 31 per cent of responding GPs said that they were considering leaving the pension scheme.

The NHS pension tax crisis has seen longer patient waiting times and calls for the tapered annual allowance, which means that the amount of tax relief available on pension contributions for NHS workers earning over £110,000 per year is being restricted, to be scrapped.

However, the government has repeatedly rebuffed called for its scrapping and has proposed full flexibility over the amount clinicians can put into their pensions as a solution.

One responding GP said: “It's a mess created by the government. When you get GP partners in their late 30s getting worried about tapering and extra tax then something is seriously wrong. I went part-time a year ago at age 52 in part due to this pension fiasco and getting hit hard by the annual allowance changes.

“I will retire at 55 because of life-time allowance. If you asked me a few years ago before these pension changes I would probably have stayed on until age 60. A lot of GPs in their early 50s are planning to quit soon or have done so and younger colleagues are stressed out by the pension changes.”

The number of partners and locum GPs leaving the scheme were even higher. Among partners, 13 per cent had quit the NHS pension scheme permanently, 8 per cent temporarily, and 41 per cent were considering leaving.

Among locums, 18 per cent of respondents said they had quit the scheme permanently, 11 per cent temporarily and 23 per cent were considering doing so.

A total of 498 GPs in the UK responded to the survey, with 440 of them in England.

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