A report by NHS Providers suggests that concerns over taxation of pensions may lead to an exodus of leaders from the service in the next two years.

An unnecessary divide: the impact of pensions taxation on NHS trust leaders, includes survey findings indicating almost half of all trust leaders (44%) plan to, or are considering, leaving the NHS because of the pensions crisis.

Over one third (37%) of board-level directors said fewer staff in their trust are seeking or accepting promotions, while 60% said clinicians are now less willing to take on leadership roles.

Furthermore, nearly 70% of clinical executives have turned down or would consider turning down promotions into roles required for the effective running of services or taking on additional leadership responsibilities.

Leaders from 188 trusts (84% of the total) took part in the survey which reveals widespread concerns about the impact of restricting solutions to clinical, as opposed to non-clinical leaders, as the interim solution for the current tax year, launched in December, did.

The survey highlights that there would be a significant adverse impact on morale, retention and the effective running of services if non-clinicians are exempted from the solution the Government has said it will announce in the Budget on 11 March.

There was a near-unanimous view (97%) among respondents to the survey that senior non-clinical staff should be eligible for any pension contribution flexibilities implemented by Ministers.

Almost as many (95%) felt that flexibilities should be available to all NHS staff.

One NHS trust director of operations said: “Poorly led organisations have higher mortality rates. Senior managers do on-call, and work seven days a week. Vacancies lead to operational decisions, especially around emergency care, becoming ever more difficult”.

Last reviewed 13 February 2020