BMA plans fightback over cuts to NHS pensions

The medical profession will only avoid further attacks on NHS pensions by sending a strong message to ministers about their opposition to cuts, the BMA pensions committee chairman has warned.

Dr Alan Robertson: 'This is the biggest attack we have had on pensions. The concern is what happens down the line' (Photograph: BMA)
Dr Alan Robertson: 'This is the biggest attack we have had on pensions. The concern is what happens down the line' (Photograph: BMA)
Dr Alan Robertson spoke to GP ahead of a BMA Council decision about whether to ballot members on industrial action over changes to the NHS pension scheme.

BMA members were asked in a poll this month about forms of action they were prepared to take to protest about cuts.

Dr Robertson described the government as a ‘bully’ that would only get worse if it was not tackled. He said the changes were ‘certainly important enough for people to consider some form of action’.

‘This is the biggest attack we’ve had on pensions,’ he said. ‘The concern is what happens down the line.’

Governments in Northern Ireland and Scotland have yet to announce what changes they will make to NHS pensions.

Dr Robertson said they were expected to follow the lead taken by England and Wales, but that a strong reaction from BMA members might cause other governments to rethink their position.

‘They may start to say, "We need to think about what we need to offer",’ Dr Robertson said. He added that the huge  number of responses from doctors to the public consultation on increasing pension contrib­utions for public sector schemes may already have shown the government how strongly doctors feel about pensions.

He said many doctors were still likely to retire early, despite the government protecting those within 10 years of retirement from the changes.

‘Changes to tax allowances are still going to have a major impact on doctors. With an increased contribution rate many doctors will be asking themselves "What am I getting out of this?",’ Dr Robertson said.

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