Calls for doctors to be exempt from pension age hike

Calls for doctors to be exempt from pension age hike

The British Medical Association has called for NHS workers to be exempt from proposals to increase the minimum pension age to 57, saying the complex nature of pensions taxation meant many needed to retire before this age.

In its consultation response to the plans, the BMA said it would be “unfair and unreasonable” to make doctors work for longer, in turn causing them to be unduly taxed.

In February the government announced plans to increase the NMPA from 55 to 57, effective from April 2028.

In its consultation document, it said increasing the minimum pension age reflected increases in longevity and changing expectations of how long people will remain in work and in retirement.

But the BMA pointed out that pension taxation has caused many doctors to retire early.

It said data has previously shown there has been a sharp increase in numbers choosing voluntary early retirement, with 30 per cent of consultants and 54.7 per cent of GPs doing so in 2020.

In addition, two-thirds of doctors over the age of 55, and one in eight aged between 35 and 54 are considering retiring within three years as a result of the recent announcement to freeze the lifetime allowance.

The BMA stated: “This crucially means that pension taxation is already unfairly having a severe financial impact on our members, and the proposals set out in the consultation will make this much worse. 

“Forcing many of these members to delay accessing their pension for a further two years may result in a significant financial detriment.”

It added that there was “no rationale” to make this change either on the basis of improving the affordability of the scheme or to ensure that members save for later life. 

When it announced its proposals, the government said due to their special circumstances, members of the police, firefighters and the armed services will not have the age increase applied to their schemes.

The BMA called for this exemption to include NHS workers, saying working within the NHS was extremely physically and mentally challenging, and the demands on NHS staff were comparable to many of those in protected schemes.

The BMA stated: “At a time where pressures on the NHS have never been greater, with doctors reporting high levels of fatigue and burnout, increasing the NMPA will only serve to demotivate and worsen the already low levels of morale amongst the medical workforce. 

“If the government is intent on increasing the NMPA, we would strongly argue that the special dispensation given to members of the armed forces, police and fire services be extended to the NHS.”

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