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19-12-2011 | Article

BMA unhappy with pension deal



BMA leaders have warned that, despite some concessions, the government's final offer on pension reforms will "still hit doctors very hard".

The doctors' union said it will consult members in early January on the deal - including over what action they are prepared to take if they consider it is unacceptable.

Unison, the largest union for public sector health workers, announced yesterday that it had received the final offer, which will mean NHS staff who are less than 10 years from retirement will not face any changes, and those earning less than £26,000 will be protected from any increase in contributions next year.

As reported previously on GP News, however, GPs and other high earners will face an even bigger increase in their contributions than originally proposed.

Unison said it is suspending further industrial action until its health committee meets on 10 January to decide whether to accept or reject the deal, or consult NHS members.

Chair of Council at the BMA, Dr Hamish Meldrum, said: "Throughout negotiations, the BMA and other health unions have repeatedly made the case that the NHS pension is already fair to both staff and taxpayers. The scheme was radically overhauled only 3 years ago, and is currently providing a positive cashflow to the Treasury.

"We are extremely disappointed that the government has refused to concede this. Despite some improvements to the original offer, doctors stand to be hit very hard by these changes. Junior doctors in their twenties would have to work until the age of 68 and pay over £200,000 more in additional pension contributions."

GP News is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Caroline Price