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Action to bolster NHS workforce and retain senior doctors

The Government has launched a consultation on changes to the NHS Pension Scheme, to retain experienced NHS clinicians and remove the barriers to staff returning from retirement.

The proposals include introducing flexibilities to allow retired and partially retired staff to return to work or increase their working hours without having payments to their pension reduced or suspended. This will allow staff to claim a portion or all of their pension benefits but continue working and contributing to their pension.

The proposals also fix the unintended impacts of inflation, so senior clinicians are not taxed more than is necessary. These measures will enable skilled and experienced staff to continue to contribute to the NHS up to and beyond retirement age.

This means more clinicians to provide appointments, ease winter pressures and deliver care to patients, as well the retention of crucial knowledge and experience to ensure patients are receiving first class care.

Health and Social Secretary, Steve Barclay, said: "The generous NHS Pension Scheme is one of the best in the country, but it’s not working as it should for everyone. We need a system where our most experienced clinicians don’t feel they have to reduce their workload or take early retirement because of financial worries. I also want to make it easier for staff that want to return to work to support the NHS to be able to do so without penalties.

"These proposed changes will help open up extra appointments so patients can see their GP and consultants more quickly. With record numbers of doctors and nurses working in the NHS alongside record funding, I’m focused on giving people the security of knowing the NHS will be there for them when they need it."

The consultation will be open for eight weeks and reforms are expected to be implemented in late spring 2023. Major reforms being proposed include:

  • A new partial retirement option to support older staff who want to work more flexibly and enable them to access part of their pension while continuing to contribute to their pension pot. This would allow NHS staff to partially retire, or for those that have retired to return to the workforce, to either claim all or a portion of their pension but continue working and building more pension benefits. Staff will be able to work more flexibly up to and beyond retirement age.
  • Removing limits on hours recently retired staff can work giving them control over the hours they work in the first calendar month after returning. This is a barrier for retired staff considering returning to the NHS which will be removed, helping increase capacity.
  • Allowing retired staff to re-join the pension scheme making returning to work in the NHS more attractive by ensuring senior clinicians and NHS staff can continue to contribute to their pensions from their NHS work.
  • Fixing the interaction between the pension tax system and inflation to ensure senior clinicians have more headroom against the £40,000 pension tax annual allowance. This means senior doctors are either less likely to receive a tax charge, or will receive a smaller tax charge, reducing the likelihood of early retirement.
  • Allowing staff working in primary care networks (PCNs), such as GPs and general practice staff, to access the NHS Pension Scheme. Previously they have had to apply for time-limited access on an ad hoc basis. These proposals will mean they can potentially benefit.

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Upcoming Events

Arab Health 2023

Dubai World Trade Centre
30th January - 2nd February 2023

Central Sterilising Club Annual Scientific Meeting

Crowne Plaza, Newcastle Upon Tyne
3rd - 4th April 2023

DECON UK 2023

Hilton Birmingham Metropole
18th April 2023

Infection Prevention and Control 2023

National Conference Centre, Birmingham
25th - 26th April 2023

Access the latest issue of Clinical Services Journal on your mobile device together with an archive of back issues.

Download the FREE Clinical Services Journal app from your device's App store

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