The number of NHS workers in England and Wales claiming retirement benefits has reached a record monthly high, according to data that underline the difficult backdrop to government efforts to curb soaring patient backlogs.
The figures reveal that 8,902 pension awards were made to health staff in April this year, compared with 6,932 in April last year, an increase of 28 per cent. The previous record, based on NHS data that goes back to 2008 obtained through a freedom of information request, was 7,384 in April 2015.
Pension awards, which include those paid for the first time at normal pension age or to people retiring early, usually peak in April at the end of the financial year.
“While there are a number of reasons that someone would be awarded their pension benefits, the most common is that they are retiring,” said Graham Crossley, NHS pension specialist at Quilter, the independent financial adviser that submitted the FOI request.
“We are hearing that healthcare workers are simply exhausted, feel undervalued and want out of the NHS for a better quality of life,” he added.