Number of doctors opting for early retirement doubles amid pension clampdown

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The number of GPs claiming their NHS pension on voluntary early retirement grounds increased from 198 in 2007-08 to 721 in 2016-17, while the number retiring on ill health grounds rose from 12 to 63 over the same period.Dr Rob Harwood,  chairman of the British Medical Association’s consultants committee, said: “These figures are concerning but certainly not surprising for doctors working in understaffed and under-resourced hospitals across the country.“Given the combined pressures of mounting demand, unmanageable workloads and widespread gaps in rotas, it is to be expected that doctors may ultimately choose to leave the profession early. What is most worrying, however, is the six-fold rise in those retiring early due to ill-health.”John Kell, Head of Policy at the Patients Association, said: “Patients will want to see reassurance in the forthcoming ten year plan for the NHS that there will be an adequate clinical workforce to care for them in the future. The mounting pressures on the NHS are taking a high toll on the doctors we currently have.”A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said:   “There are near-record numbers of NHS doctors working tirelessly to make sure patients get excellent, safe care and we are committed to supporting them in the workplace. To help them balance work-life commitments, we are expanding flexible working schemes and e-rostering, and to ensure the NHS has the doctors it needs now and in the future we are increasing training places by 25 per cent.” The number retiring on ill health grounds rose from 12 to 79 over the same period.The figures show that in total, 27 per cent of hospital doctors who retired in 2017/18 did so before pension age – a rise form 14 per cent a decade before.And five per cent of retirements in 2017/18 were on grounds of ill-health, compared with 1 per cent in 2007/08.The figures were released to The BMJ by the NHS Business Services Authority in response to a freedom of information request.Overall, the number of hospital doctors choosing to take their pension rose by a fifth over the period, the figures show. Meanwhile, the total number working in the NHS rose by 21 per cent.It follows figures showing a more than tripling in the number of GPs choosing early retirement. These figures are concerning but certainly not surprising for doctors working in understaffed and under-resourced hospitalsDr Rob Harwood Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The number of hospital doctors opting for early retirement has doubled in the past decade, NHS figures show.The trend comes along side a clamp down on pensions, which cap the amount savers can amass without being taxed from £1.8m in 2012 to £1 million.Medics blamed stress, and said they were increasingly overloaded, with the statistics also showing a rising numbers taking their pension early on grounds of ill-health.The research shows the number of hospital doctors claiming their NHS pension on voluntary early retirement grounds increased from 164 in 2007/08 to 397 in 2017/18.

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Anger over Junior Deans’ dinner

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