Autumn Statement 2014 series: Ease the pensions and tax burden on GPs
In my previous pre-Autumn Statement and pre-Budget wish-lists I have expressed concern at the increasing financial pressures on GPs and their practices, but we are still to see any meaningful action taken to stem the mass move towards early retirement and the recruitment crisis facing the profession.
General practice urgently requires additional funding to maintain quality, efficiency, premises and to retain key staff and doctors.
In my opinion we need to see incentives to encourage doctors to train for general practice and to retain senior doctors in the profession.
To do this the chancellor should look at the possibility of allowing members of the NHS pension scheme not to have to pension all of their earnings. He should also consider widening the 20 per cent rate tax band to give middle income professionals the incentive to reinvest in their practices to ensure they are sustainable for the future.
More generally, Mr Osborne could look to increase the share of the NHS budget allocated into primary care to help fund innovation and appropriate care at a local level. Meanwhile, if the private sector is to be encouraged to provide services commissioned by the NHS the costs incurred via the procurement process need to be less prohibitive.
I also wonder if there is an opportunity for prescription charges to be removed in England to match other parts of the UK. This might be prompted by a review into the level of service that the NHS can afford to continue to provide free at the point of delivery.
Debbie Wood is a partner and head of the healthcare services team at Moore and Smalley