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Cracking down on the 'abuse' of 24-hour retirement

I was listening to the news on my way in to work last week and I heard that health secretary Jeremy Hunt wants to clamp down on abuses in the NHS, including excessive charging by staffing agencies and the 'use of 24-hour retirement'. What? Is 24-hour retirement abusive?

A brief Google linking ’24-hour retirement’ to ‘abuse’ led me to, surprise, surprise, the Daily Mail who, for the time being, is highly critical of hospital managers taking 24-hour retirement. There are plenty of people supporting this outrage in the Mail article, and I wonder how long will it take for the paper to extend its concern to GPs taking 24-hour retirement

I am pragmatic by nature and, try as I might, I am struggling to see the abuse here. What this government needs at the moment are more GPs and more tax revenue. GPs who have taken 24-hour retirement and started their pension will almost always have their pension taxed at higher rates because their practice profits use up the basic rate band.

GPs who have taken 24-hour retirement also invariably reduce their sessions as they have a pension to supplement the reduced profit share. They are therefore more likely to continue working for longer.

Most financial advisers will tell you that that NHS Pension Scheme is great value for the members and  that the contributions made by the GPs bring far greater benefits that the same cost could buy elsewhere. So where is the abuse?

GPs pay more tax, work longer and reduce the burden to the pension scheme by retiring earlier. Perhaps the abuse is not to take 24-hour retirement!

The last complaint listed about individuals returning from 24-hour retirement is that they earn more. If they get a premium to come back, a kind of golden hello, that would be indefensible. But if the higher earning comes from the fact that they no longer contribute to the pension scheme that is not abuse. GP prinicpals already pay Class 4 National Insurance contributions that attracts no state benefits, are they really expected to pay into the pension scheme after retirement for no benefits as well?

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