The Scottish Government must act swiftly to play catch up with England on pension changes for doctors and surgeons following an announcement by the UK Government yesterday. That’s the call by the Scottish Liberal Democrats.
Senior doctors and surgeons in England will be able to set the level of pension accrual each year to allow them to work extra shifts without losing out financially. This is important as NHS services such as GP out of hours were being hit as doctors were unwilling to work for nothing.
Under new plans that will replace the 50:50 proposal put forward in July, senior clinicians will be given “full flexibility” over the amount they put in their pension pots, the Department for Health and Social Care has said. The Treasury will also review the tapered annual allowance.
But there has been silence from the Scottish Government on the issue even though there is a real problem north of the border as well.
Willie Rennie, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats said:
“The Scottish Government have been curiously silent on this very important matter. It directly affects health services here, with some GPs unwilling to work shifts for no financial return at all.
“The UK Government are introducing changes that will help ease this problem but those changes don’t apply in Scotland where the responsibility is with the Scottish Government. We need action in Scotland now.
Alex Cole-Hamilton, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson added:
“The initial findings of a BMA survey of members found that more than half of those responding were planning to reduce their workload, or had already had to do so because of fear of being worse off financially. One in four were considering early retiral.
“Paying to go to work must never be the intention of the tax and pension system but that is what is happening. This needs to change so the Scottish NHS does not lose out.”