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Independents' Day

May deadline for NHS England to report GP retention plans to MPs

The Government has been given a deadline of May to report back to MPs on how it is dealing with high levels of GP retirement.

A report from the Public Accounts Committee, published today, pointed out that despite 'a string' of NHS England initiatives aimed at boosting recruitment and retention of GPs, 'in the last year the number of full-time equivalent GPs has fallen, driven partly by GPs retiring early'.

It noted there were also 'worrying variations in unfilled GP training places across the country', and also highlighted concerns over nursing worforce shortages.

In response, the PAC said: 'The Department and NHS England should, by May 2018, report back to the Committee on what action they are taking to tackle key workforce issues, including nursing shortages and high levels of GP retirement and also provide evidence to show whether current plans are adequate to tackle this serious problem.'

It said this comes as the number of full-time equivalent GPs fell over the last year, from 34,126 at the end of 2016 to 33,872 at the end of 2017. Meanwhile, the London fill rate for GP training places was 106%, but in the north-east it was 77%.

The PAC added: 'NHS England also told us that it faces a particular issue with early retirement of GPs, caused in part by changes to the pensions system.'

The report also raised concerns around the new integrated care systems being set up across England, with the PAC finding that 'NHS England and NHS Improvement could not clearly articulate how accountability will work under the new integrated care systems being set up'.

It said: 'NHS England and NHS Improvement should work with the new integrated care systems to define and test how accountability should operate under these new arrangements, and should publish model guidance by September 2018.'



Readers' comments (7)

  • Someone actually needs to speak to GPs directly. I know a string of GPs who have made a decision to retire or a decision to reduce hours considerably as a result of the pension tax rules.

    Correcting that would be the equivalent of gaining (not losing) 2000 GPs immediately. It might seem a lot of work, but 2000 GPs is worth 2 Billion pounds in training costs.

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  • There is no point staying on when you breach the lifetime allowance.Take your pension enjoy life.Or stay in a job thats a killer on get additonally rated tax at the same time.No poin staying on when you have reached the lifetime allowance as for every additonal year they will tax you at 50% for every pound you exceed it.The state has made a rod for its own back.The damage has been done the her majesties government need to reep what they have sowed and "serve a pennance".

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  • With Obi on this.

    Yes I was paid through University to get degree but still in NHS after 31 years.

    Not a bad investment by the government?

    However being treated like something I unhappily trod in wasn't part of the deal.

    Not spoken to me about staying on and they'd better be quick about it.

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  • If you exceed the lifetime allowance, you can stop paying into your pension, continue working, pocket what you would have paid into your pension for the personal contribution and ,if you are a partner, you can also pocket the full employers contribution which is built in to the practice remuneration. The money is yours, not the partnership's. See the BMA guidance on the matter

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  • The pension issues are not the main reason that GPs are retiring. It’s because of the well documented low pay and stress performing the job. There is no longer any job satisfaction.

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  • Pension is one thing but ending up in jail for manslaughter while trying to help is quite another. You do not even need to knife anyone. Once in jail all pension spending plans are gone.

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  • Agree with Tony @10:01

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