Friday, 8 July 2011

NHS Pension Scheme Could Make Staff Work More For Less

New figures from the British Medical Association show that many junior doctors could be better off investing in a private pension, rather than joining a reformed NHS scheme.

The news comes as doctors and medical students at the BMA’s annual conference in Cardiff passed a motion for a possible ballot on industrial action.

Initial figures show that the potential pension a GP could expect to build up in the NHS scheme – assuming it undergoes key reforms proposed by the government – could be lower than a private pension.

This BMA say’s it’s concerned that if the NHS pension ceases to provide value to doctors, many would opt out, potentially destabilising the largest public sector pension scheme, and adding to the burden on the state.

In a speech to the conference, Chairman of the BMA’s Pensions Committee Dr Andrew Dearden called on the government to “stop throwing punches” and enter into dialogue.

“There is great anger and fear among doctors and medical students, and rightly so, when you consider that the NHS pension scheme underwent a major overhaul only three years ago.

“Our message to the government is simple – we want to be treated fairly and have a reasonable dialogue on pensions – something that has been sadly lacking so far.”

Dr Dearden also criticised proposals to increase the retirement age from 60 to 68, a move which could leave doctors having to pay an extra £140, 000 in contributions.

He added, “The government wants you to work longer, pay more and get a lot less, this is no way to treat the very doctors who have devoted their entire careers to patients and the NHS.”

Dr Dearden also attacked the government’s claims that the current scheme is unaffordable, stating that at the moment it delivers a massive surplus of £2 billion per year to the Treasury.

Commenting on the motion on industrial action, Dr Dearden said, “While feelings are running high, industrial action would only ever be a last resort.

“Doctors always think of their patients first, and it would never be a decision that would be taken lightly.”

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