Doctors are calling on the Treasury to rethink the current rules regarding taxation and pensions, which have encouraged a number of GPs and consultants to cut their hours, retire early or even leave the scheme entirely.

Chaand Nagpaul, the BMA Council Chair, has warned Chancellor Phillip Hammond that the current rules could risk an escalation in the existing recruitment crisis in general practice, part of an NHS which is already facing an extreme shortage.

The current rules penalise senior consultants financially when they take on extra work and can often discourage them from putting forward innovative ideas on treatments and working practices.

Army doctors are also being affected, with many forced to reconsider their careers as the rules hit their pensions as they rise through the ranks.

Dr Nagpaul said: “We would very much like to engage with the Government to look at ways to address this problem.

“GPs are being actively encouraged to reduce their commitment or, for those nearing retirement, to stop work altogether. This will naturally impact on the Government’s stated aim to attract 5,000 new GPs in England by 2020.

One of the main rules doctors have called to be reviewed relates to the annual allowance charge which features in defined benefit schemes of public sector pensions.

Other unions representing the police, firefighters, dentists, nurses and civil servants have also echoed concerns about this rule, highlighting potential recruitment and retention problems from staff being unwilling to attract a pay increase or undertake additional work in fear of potential allowance charges.

The BMA is looking for greater flexibility for a range of pension rules which make it difficult for members to work out and control their pensions.

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