Specialist medical accountants have hit out at the Government’s consultation aimed at simplifying the NHS Pension Scheme.
In a detailed response, the Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants (AISMA) – whose 75 member firms act for thousands of consultants and GPs – said the proposals:
Were muddled in some respects;
Ignored issues that needed consideration;
Were sometimes incorrect.
Giving a technical critique, the accountants’ body also criticised the approach given for failing to marry up with the relevant tax legislation. It wants further detail.
While agreeing with the need for change, AISMA added: ‘As there are so many complications within the various strands of the NHS Pension Scheme, which affect different members in different ways, we feel that a greater understanding of the issues is needed.’.
It wants more information on how the proposals, if implemented from 1 April 2023, might affect scheme members who have already decided to opt out or retire from the NHS. There are fears some doctors may well be unfairly penalised.
AISMA said some of the complex proposals involving valuing pensions for annual allowance purposes were ambiguous and needed updating for clarity.
The accountants concluded it appeared that the current method of valuation by NHS Pensions for annual allowance purposes contradicted what the tax legislation said about valuation.
AISMA’s response to the consultation added: ‘We recommend that additional research by the Department of Health and Social Care is required as to the detail of the proposed changes, together with a greater understanding of the limitations imposed by tax legislation.’
It criticised some proposals for lacking the detail needed to confirm that the intention behind them would be achieved.
‘If there is further detail or information not contained in the document this should be issued for consideration. If not, more work is required.’