WINCHESTER’S MP has told ministers of fears pension changes could impact the treatment of patients in the area.

Steve Brine MP spoke during a parliamentary debate on the future of the NHS.

He said recent changes to pension tax legislation relating to the Annual Allowance and the Life Time Allowance have caused widespread concern in the health sector, including at Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust (HHFT) which runs the Royal Hampshire County Hospital (RHCH) in Winchester.

Hampshire Chronicle:

Speaking in the House of Commons, the MP said he had been contacted by a number of constituents after they received unexpected tax bills of tens of thousands of pounds.

Mr Brine added that HHFT had contacted him to warn the issue is impacting patient care as some medical staff were foregoing additional work due to the increase in tax being greater than money being earned.

In response, Mr Hammond said a consultation has been launched to look at proposals which he said would make pensions more flexible.

Speaking after the debate, Mr Brine said: “I was concerned of a possible trust-wide impact and (HHFT chief executive) Alex Whitfield confirmed the pension situation is having a significant impact on their people.

“Ministers need to move fast on this to ensure we don’t lose good and experienced medical staff. I have already followed up with the Secretary of State and will keep very close on the issue to ensure voices from my constituency are heard.”

Hampshire Chronicle:

The debate was held to mark the publication of the interim NHS People Plan. The document sets out a vision for how people working in the NHS – and recruited to it – will be supported to deliver world-class care.

Mr Brine welcomed its publication, which he said was the “turn-key without which the NHS Long Term Plan cannot work”.

Responding to Mr Brine’s comments, a spokesman for HHFT said: “Unfortunately there is already a workforce challenge in the NHS and finding other suitably qualified people to fill these gaps is increasingly challenging. This is resulting in longer waits for patients who are not in need of urgent care but do require NHS treatment.

“There is a proposal for some changes to the NHS pension scheme that may help the situation but will not solve it and we are working really closely with our senior clinical staff to find ways to support them.”