The Clinical Services and Standards Committee on behalf of the BSG has surveyed our Consultant members around the UK. The aim was to evaluate the impact of the changes in the pension tax on personal circumstances and NHS services. The following are the main findings:
- 5% had to remortgage their house to pay the tax bill
- 66% are planning to take early retirement
- 40% dropped at least one endoscopy list or clinic with 4% dropping more than three
- 21% reduced other clinical activity such as ward rounds
- 38% have reduced other professional activity such as teaching or training roles
- 67% have opted not to take on leadership roles such as training program director or clinical director
- 74% have declined to do waiting list initiative work (ie sessions to help reduce waiting lists)
- 74% have seen a rise in 2 week waits for endoscopy for patients suspected of having cancer; in 22%, the increase has been by more than 4 weeks
In summary, the current pensions tax has resulted in adverse personal circumstances for Consultants with the majority planning to take early retirement in a system that is already under pressure with unfilled Consultant posts and significant reductions in clinical activity resulting in an increase in waiting lists, including for those patients with suspected cancer.
Further detailed analysis of the survey will be forthcoming.