Tighter limits on pension savings “pose a direct threat to patient care” according to Britain’s most senior medical staff, who have called on MPs to intervene to avoid a feared 40pc drop in hospital specialists.
Consultants are receiving sudden tax bills of as much as £100,000 or effective rates of 100pc. In response, they are refusing requests to work extra shifts to meet patient demand, or retiring early. One in 10 hospital doctor roles is vacant.
MPs are being called on to launch an inquiry into the effect of pension tax on the NHS. The Government is under pressure to overhaul contribution limits for all savers to avoid an exodus of experienced staff across sectors.
In a letter to Nicky Morgan, chair of the Treasury committee, seen exclusively by Telegraph Money, the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) said patients will pay the price.
Dr John West of the HCSA said: “For many, this is the last straw. They have retired to avoid the rigmarole of annual uncertainty on pensions and tax. If the Government doesn’t act, there will unavoidably be a harmful impact on patient care.”
After cuts by successive governments, this year is the first many across the private and public sector will feel the pinch of a £40,000 limit in pension contributions, or £10,000 for those earning more than £210,000. Breach these and HM Revenue and Customs will demand the tax relief back today on savings locked away until at least age 55.