High earning NHS doctors get even more generous pensions

High-earning doctors and part-time GPs will be thousands of pounds better off for no extra work after their pensions become more generous this autumn.

Part-time doctors working just three days and earning £42,000 will see take home pay increase by £4,600 a year from October because their pension contributions will fall, according to Wesleyan, a specialist financial adviser. This is despite their retirement benefits staying the same.

GPs earning £120,000 will receive a salary boost of £2,400 a year. This will apply to those who work three days or less a week on average, according to Government research.

The burden of funding generous pensions will fall onto junior doctors and lower paid NHS workers. Full time young doctors earning £45,000 will see take home pay fall by £630 a year after they pay more into pension for no added benefit.

The NHS is bringing in new rules to simplify its pension contributions from October, creating what it called a “flatter and fairer” system. Following the change, the highest earners will contribute 12.5pc of their salary every year, down from 14.5pc. Meanwhile, those earning less than £42,000 will contribute a larger proportion of their salary, rising from 9.3pc to 10.7pc. 

Alec Collie, of Wesleyan, said it was impossible to see the logic behind making junior doctors bear the brunt. He added: “The profession is facing pressures left, right and centre, with this added to the mix, the Government is only exacerbating the potential for more staff to leave the NHS.”

The healthcare system has faced chronic workforce shortages amid a deepening staffing crisis. The Department of Health and Social Care has already delayed the start date, from April 2022 to October, because of the burden the changes place on lower earners. 

Nurses will be the biggest losers as they will never earn enough to go past the threshold where their contributions fall, Mr Collie said. NHS pension contributions will change in two phases with the first incremental change due in October, followed by the remaining in April 2023.

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