The number of doctors retiring early from the NHS has tripled in the last 13 years, according to official data.
Figures provided a The BMJ by the NHS Business Services Authority under a request for freedom of information shows that the number of GPs and hospital doctors in England and Wales, who retired early voluntarily or retired due to health problems, went from 401 in 2007-08 to 1358 in 2020-21.
Overall, the total number of doctors who retired increased by 21% during this period, from 2431 in 2007-08 to 2952 in 2020-21.
The figures also show that as the number of doctors retiring early has increased, so has the number of retirements by age — from 2030 in 2007-08 to 1594 in 2020-21. The average age at which doctors retire has also decreased in this period, from 61 years in 2007-08 to 59 years in 2020-21.
The British Medical Association (BMA) says changes in tax regulation are one of the main reasons motivating doctors to retire.
Vishal Sharma, chairman of the BMA’s pension committee, said the current pension tax system was “punitive” and left “senior doctors little choice to consider early retirement. “
Sharma claimed that the government’s decision to freeze the life benefit for the imposition of pensions for the next five years, which will increase the amount of taxes that many doctors have to pay for their pensions, aggravated the situation.
“A BMA survey showed that 72% of doctors would consider retiring even earlier as a result of these changes,” he added. “The combination of an exhausted workforce, along with the freezing of the life allowance that is imposed at the same time, can result in a massive exodus of highly experienced doctors, at a time when patients need it most.”
He said a “simple but effective” change the government could make would be to apply an unregistered tax pension scheme in the NHS.
“The Government has already implemented this scheme so that the judicial system can address similar recruitment and retention issues,” he explained. “A comparable solution within the NHS will allow our more experienced doctors to continue working in the NHS and, as a result, avoid this workforce crisis.”
The early retirement of doctors has tripled since 2008, DOI: 10.1136 / bmj.n1594
British Medical Journal
Citation: The number of NHS doctors who retired early has tripled since 2008 (2021, June 23), recovered on June 23, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06 -nhs-doctors-early-tripled.html
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