BMA online petition launches calling for fresh NHS pension talks

The BMA has launched an online petition demanding meaningful talks on NHS pension reform after efforts to negotiate with health secretary Andrew Lansley broke down.

Dr Hamish Meldrum: push for talks
Dr Hamish Meldrum: push for talks

Unless the government backs down on plans to cut pensions, BMA leaders will meet on 25 February to agree plans to ballot for industrial action.

After a meeting with Mr Lansley, the BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said: ‘Lines of communication are open but the government has not shown a willingness to find a meaningful way of reaching a fairer offer.’

He said the BMA would draw up ways for doctors and other NHS staff to pressure ministers into fresh talks before a ballot on industrial action was taken.

‘We want to reach an agreement that is fair and acc­eptable to both NHS staff and taxpayers. A ballot is a last resort.’

The e-petition says: ‘We urge the DH, in conjunction with the governments of the devolved nations, to re-open meaningful negotiations with health unions to achieve a fair and amicable pension settlement. The NHS pension scheme is not an unfair burden on taxpayers – in fact, it is providing a large positive cashflow to the Treasury.

'The settlement should reflect the fact that the NHS scheme und­erwent major changes only four years ago, with staff taking on responsibility for ensuring it is sustainable in the long term.’

If the petition gains 100,000 signatures, MPs would be forced to debate the issue in the Commons.

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