Tuesday, November 29, 2022

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NHS ‘at risk of total collapse’ as senior medics look to leave, BMA warns

Leading doctors have warned the NHS is “at risk of complete collapse” after a survey found more than two in five of the longest-serving hospital doctors plan to leave the NHS in the next year.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said the NHS was “at breaking point” and called for immediate government action.

It comes after a survey found that 44% of hospital advisers in England plan to leave or take a break from working in the NHS over the next year.

For the consulting surgeons it was 50%.

The BMA survey of nearly 8,000 advisors found that payroll and pension tax regulations were some of the reasons they considered leaving the company.

Nine out of ten consultants now consider this year’s 4.5% salary increase to be “inadequate” or “completely unacceptable”.

The BMA said “punitive” rules on pension taxation had tripled the number of doctors taking early retirement in the past 13 years, with the average retirement age now being 59.

dr Vishal Sharma, Chair of the BMA Advisory Committee, said: “The NHS is already at breaking point and cannot afford to lose any of its staff, let alone the prospect of losing almost half of its senior doctors.

“Not only will this have a very significant adverse impact on patient care, this loss of physicians will simply put increased pressure on staff who remain in the workforce, further increasing the risk of burnout.

“After years of demoralizing real wage cuts and chronic staff shortages, the NHS and its staff are on their knees.

“The government urgently needs to show it values ​​medical workers by taking steps to restore doctors’ pay.

“The government also urgently needs to address the pension tax trap that is forcing doctors to reduce hours and take early retirement to avoid unfair taxation on their pensions.

“The good will of the staff on which the NHS depends has all but dried up. Without immediate action, the NHS faces complete collapse.

“Our hospitals are full of patients who are left in the corridors for hours and sometimes even days; Ambulances are often unable to attend to community emergencies because they are stuck waiting to take patients to emergency rooms that they cannot accommodate; Patients wait months and even years for the treatment they need, and many more suffer in silence who have not yet made it onto a waiting list.

“This is not the NHS our patients deserve or that our staff have signed up for.

“The NHS is at breaking point and unless the government acts it will collapse completely.

“We urge the Government to come to the table and speak to advisers about the changes needed before it’s too late to stop the drain of doctors from the NHS.”

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “Focused on patient care, the Secretary for Health and Social Care has set out her four priorities A, B, C, D – reducing ambulance delays, clearing the Covid backlog, improving of care and increase in the number of doctors and dentists.

“Last year we have seen a record number of hospital doctors in the NHS and there are over 3,500 more full-time equivalents than a year ago.

“The NHS pension scheme offers generous pension benefits for hard-working staff and our plan for patients introduces new pension flexibilities to encourage our most experienced clinicians to stay or return to practice.”

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