Pension flexibility proposals unworkable and discriminatory

Proposed flexibilities to the NHS Pension Scheme are unworkable and discriminatory, says the Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants (AISMA).

Responding to the government’s consultation on pension flexibilities, the association, which includes some of the UK’s foremost authorities on the NHS Pension Scheme, says that the proposals represent uninformed tinkering with the NHS Pension regulations and that a complete re-think is required that must involve changes to pensions tax legislation.

AISMA also warns that the proposals, which only apply to senior clinicians, discriminate against other groups of employees, including highly paid NHS administrators and managers who may also be affected by the annual allowance tax rules.

Deborah Wood, AISMA vice-chairman and healthcare services partner at accountancy firm MHA Moore and Smalley, said: “These proposals do not make it any easier for doctors to understand their pension position. Deciding on a reasonable percentage of pay to pension to avoid a tax charge represents a game of chance for all doctors and for GPs this is compounded by out of date records due to the underperformance of Primary Care Support England (PCSE).”

Ms Wood says that most NHS Pension Scheme members have insufficient understanding of their own pension arrangements. While the consultation suggests that a modeller will be provided to assist with planning, she says this will only be as good as the person feeding information into it.

“Doctors would welcome a simplified system that was fairer and allowed a reduction in the fees for professional accountancy, tax and pensions advice. This could be achieved if the government decides to act on the recommendation of its independent tax adviser, The Office of Tax Simplification, which is to scrap the annual allowance cap on pensions.”


Notes to editors

Click here to read AISMA response in full

Read the DHSC’s consultation here.

For further information please contact Rosalind Dewar on 01580 764713 / 07785 182732 or email