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Clinical Staff Shortages

Volume 643: debated on Tuesday 19 June 2018

15. What steps his Department is taking to support NHS foundation trusts to tackle shortages in clinical staff. (905927)

The workforce strategy we are bringing forward will include investment and an expansion in the number of medical schools— five new medical schools—alongside those 1,500 new doctor places.

I had wanted to ask the Secretary of State to get behind exempting nurses and doctors from the tier 2 visa process, but I do not need to do that; I just have to thank him for his support in doing that. Instead, for his next challenge, will he commit to looking again at the pensions cap, which I fear might be one reason some senior NHS professionals and doctors are retiring sooner than they might otherwise do?

I am grateful for my hon. Friend’s support on tier 2 visas. She will be aware that clinicians who reach the £1 million lifetime allowance limit can expect a pension of about £44,000, payable at age 60, increasing with inflation, plus a tax-free lump sum of about £132,000. Although these are ultimately issues for the Treasury, it is important that we ensure that tax allowances, two thirds of which go to higher-rate taxpayers, are fair to other taxpayers.