Unison concerned about DHSC NHS pension proposals

Trade union Unison has expressed concerns about the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) consultation which sets out proposals to introduce pension flexibilities to help rectify issues with the NHS pension scheme.

It stated that it was worried about “a number of the proposals”, but most notably that the consultation proposes that the flexibilities will be limited to senior clinicians only.

In the consultation, the government admitted that the tax issues facing the NHS pension scheme meant that NHS staff had started reducing their work hours, with around a third of consultants and GPs unwilling to take on extra shifts.

A total of 211,485 NHS workers have decided to opt out of the NHS Pension Scheme since March 2014.

The NHS Pension Scheme has seen an uptick in opt-outs in recent years due to issues surrounding the tapered annual allowance, which lowered the tax relief threshold from £1.25m to £1m, leading to many senior consultants leaving the scheme.

The DHSC has launched the proposals in an attempt to address these issues, but Unison cited concerns that it would not include non-senior staff.

The department published the consultation to replace its previous 50:50 flexibility proposal earlier this year.

On its website, Unison stated: “Unison has concerns about a DHSC consultation on a new set of proposals to introduce pension flexibilities for senior clinicians.

“Unison is concerned about a number of the proposals, most notably that the flexibilities will be limited to senior clinicians only.

“Unison will respond to the consultation and will feed into the NHS Pension Scheme Advisory Board’s response.”

The consultation closes to responses on 1 November 2019.

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