BMA attacks government consultation on GP pension contribution changes

The government consultation on pension contributions is 'absolute nonsense', according to the BMA's pensions committee chairman.

Dr Dearden: there is now an increased risk of high-earning doctors leaving the scheme, or retiring, leaving low paid workers to plug the gap.
Dr Dearden: there is now an increased risk of high-earning doctors leaving the scheme, or retiring, leaving low paid workers to plug the gap.

In a consultation document released today, the government set out its proposed percentage increases to NHS pension contributions and outlined the amount that the scheme needs to save in 2012/13 - £530m.

The consultation is being held on how the savings will be achieved but not on how much those savings will be, a spokesperson from the DoH said.  

'We have to find savings of £530m,' the DoH spokesperson said.

Dr Dearden said that the consultation was nonsense and not a real consultation at all.

'It’s like someone telling you they’re going to shoot you in the head but then saying they’re not going to do it for another three years,' Dr Dearden said.

Dr Dearden said the government had 'refused' to enter discussions with the BMA over the proposed savings, despite several requests from the union.

He said the BMA repeatedly raised its concerns over pension changes, describing them as a 'stealth tax' on doctors.

The current consultation is not a negotiation, it is an ‘imposed change’, Dr Dearden said.

‘This is absolutely a Treasury-driven taxation on public sector workers. This money isn’t going into improving pensions or improving benefits. It’s going into the Treasury,' he said.

'It's not negotiating with us. It wants the money.'

Dr Dearden said that government proposals made no sense. He said there was now an increased risk of high-earning doctors leaving the scheme, or retiring, leaving low paid workers to plug the gap.

‘Maybe the government has an alternative agenda to shut down the scheme by stealth,’ added Dr Dearden.

He advised members ‘not to panic, or do anything irreversible,’ over their pensions. 

He suggested seeking expert financial advice but not to make any rash decisions before proposals were finalised.

‘It is very important that people seek individual expert advice,’ he said.

Dr Dearden said the BMA would be responding to the consultation, both on the proposed percentage increase and the total amount of savings the government wants to achieve from the NHS scheme.

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