Pension boost could lead thousands of doctors to quit the NHS

Thousands
of the country’s most experienced doctors could quit the NHS within three years
after the introduction of a new contract that means they can retire early on
full pensions.

The
British Medical Association has warned that by 2007, nearly 4,000 senior
consultants will have little or no financial incentive to continue working for
the NHS.

The
new contract, which begins in 2005, boosts the salaries of top consultants by
£20,000 to £92,000. Their pension contributions will rise in line with their
pay, meaning that they will hit the maximum achievable pension – just under
half their salary – by their early 60s.

Some
could even retire as early as their mid-50s, with only a slight deduction in
their retirement benefits. For most, there will be little incentive to keep
working the punishing NHS schedules until mandatory retirement.

A
mass exodus would exacerbate staffing problems in the service, which at present
has a shortfall of 10,000 hospital doctors.

Paul
Miller, chairman of the British Medical Association’s consultants’ committee,
told the Times newspaper: “You could find you go into work on April 1, 2007, and every
consultant over the age of 60 in the NHS has retired. The majority will have
hit their best point financially, and will want to go.

“It
could be a retirement timebomb,"
he added. "You only need to lose one consultant from a speciality team and
it will leave a big hole in provision.”

By Daniel Thomas

 

 

 

 

 

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