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News Release - Doctors delaying retirement creates an ageing workforce for NHS hospitals

News Release - Doctors delaying retirement creates an ageing workforce for NHS hospitals

  • The number of doctors, working in the NHS aged over 55 has risen by 26% and the number of over-65s has shot up by 54%

  • Number of hospital doctors in the NHS has grown 10% since 2013 but figures suggest this is a result of an ageing workforce

  • 11% of NHS hospital doctors are now eligible for retirement

  • The number of doctors under 25 entering the profession has fallen by 11%

At least 11 per cent of NHS hospital doctors are now eligible for retirement, according to figures released to specialist financial services mutual Wesleyan.

The number of hospital doctors in the NHS has grown 10 per cent in the past five years as more choose to work beyond retirement age.  The number of hospital doctors aged above 55 has risen 26 per cent since 2013, and the number of over-65s practising has grown by 54 per cent.

The amount of younger doctors in the NHS, aged below 25, has fallen 11 per cent during the same period. These figures suggest the overall increase in the total number of doctors is the result of fewer older doctors leaving the profession rather than more junior doctors joining it.

If current trends continue, 18,717 doctors above 56 or older will be eligible to retire and access their pension, by 2028.

Victoria Wentworth, Chief Customer Officer at Wesleyan, said: "We have been surprised by these figures, as there has been general misconception that NHS doctors are retiring early. These figures clearly show this is not always the case.

"It is positive for patients that the overall numbers are increasing and vital experience stays within the health service for longer, however we do know that the annual allowance and lifetime allowance tax charges are putting a strain on their personal finances.

"The doctors we work with tell us they would happily keep working beyond retirement but are worried about potential tax bills because of the growth in their NHS Pension.

"They are having to look at other options available to manage these taxes in order to still work in the NHS beyond their retirement age. For example, some doctors who reach retirement age may opt to take their NHS Pension and return to part-time work."

The data comes after the government was due to review its annual allowance and lifetime allowance charges, which it believes are causing more doctors to think differently about their retirement plans.

The annual allowance - the amount that can be contributed to a pension each year before being taxed - was reduced to £40,000 in 2016, which alongside the lifetime allowance cap of £1.03 million, has prompted some members of the medical profession to retire early to avoid potential tax bills on their pension savings.

The figures were released to Wesleyan, a specialist financial mutual for doctors, by NHS Digital as part of a freedom of information request.

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'WESLEYAN’ is a trading name of the Wesleyan Group of companies.

Wesleyan Assurance Society and Wesleyan Bank Ltd are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Wesleyan Financial Services Ltd, Wesleyan Unit Trust Managers Ltd, Practice Plan Ltd and DPAS Ltd are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  Advice about investments, insurance and mortgages is provided by Wesleyan Financial Services Ltd.

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