YP Letters: UK tax and pension rules hitting NHS

Are GP services fit for purpose?
Are GP services fit for purpose?
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From: Dr Rajeev Gupta, Chairman, BMA Yorkshire Regional Consultants Committee.

AT a time when the NHS is faced with growing staff shortages, senior and highly experienced GPs and hospital doctors in Yorkshire are cutting back on their work or leaving the profession entirely, partly because of stress and an ever-increasing workload, but also because of damaging tax and pension regulations which severely penalise them for working longer hours.

The current lifetime and annual allowance pension limits are resulting in large and often unexpected financial burdens for the most senior and experienced of doctors, and the problems are made worse if they do more hours – to try to reduce patient waiting lists for example. The knock-on effect on patient care in Yorkshire and the impact of the junior doctors, whom they help train to be our consultants of the future, cannot be underestimated.

Recent BMA research shows that six out of 10 consultants intend to retire before or at the age of 60, with only 6.5 per cent of consultants expecting to remain working after age 65, citing the pension regulations as a key driver for this decision.

A situation where the Government talks about increasing productivity in secondary care, while allowing extreme financial pressure on its most experienced doctors to force them to do less work and, in some cases, to leave the NHS when they do not want to, is clearly untenable.

The BMA Consultants Committee has written to both the Chancellor and the Health Minister highlighting the serious implications for the NHS, and calling for the removal of the annual and lifetime allowance cap for public sector workers. We also called for the introduction of a national policy for trusts to begin recycling employer pension contributions to members who have already left the scheme entirely to offset the powerful disincentives that are forcing consultants to reduce and stop work.

Labour rebels without a poll

From: Robert Bottamley, Thorn Road, Hedon.

NO surprise to discover that all of the original seven MPs who cited anti-Semitism as the imperative for their leaving the Labour Party are opposed to the UK leaving the EU.

These seven are now joined by the MP for Enfield North – likewise a ‘Remainer’. No surprise either that all of them call for a second referendum.

The argument goes that supporters of Brexit should be willing to put their conviction that they would win a second vote to the test. And yet, not one of them, elected as representatives of the Labour Party, is prepared to call a by-election to test whether or not their constituents would return them under their new colours.

That seems, to me at least, quite a contradiction in people who claim to be driven by principle.

From: John Appleyard, Firthcliffe Parade, Liversedge.

THE MPs who quit Labour, having fought and been elected on the party’s general election manifesto ‘for the many not the few’, should immediately resign their seats and call by-elections to test their opinions with the electorate.

The only people who gain by these resignations are Theresa May and the Conservative government.

From: Henry Cobden, Ilkley.

AT least the new Independent MPs are making a stand against a two-party political system past its sell-by date. Everyone else just moans about the Tory and Labour parties without offering constructive solutions (Tony Rossiter. The Yorkshire Post, February 16).

Americanism creeping in

From: Brian H Sheridan, Lodge Moor, Sheffield.

I READ in a recent report somewhere that “students”
 had been involved in demonstrations about climate change.

This puzzled me briefly as I had seen images of schoolchildren displaying slogans.

Then I realised that the report had failed to make the distinction between people in further education and schoolchildren: another example of our language being blunted by American usage.

The difference between students or “stoodents” – as Donald Trump would say – and pupils is instantly recognisable to us older Brits.

However, we can’t blame the United States for other speech developments that continue to irritate, such as “drawring”, “withdrawral” and the reduction of February to “Febuary” or even “Febry”.

I was taught to pronounce every letter of the second month of the year.

Make BBC pay licence bills

From: Ray Marshall, Holmdene Drive, Mirfield.

SO the BBC bosses have been urged to be brave and tell the Government to take back responsibility for providing free TV licences.

I think the BBC can afford to fund this themselves. Easy!

Take say 10 per cent off the high salaries they pay to the so-called celebs.

They won’t miss it, but we will.