BMA warns GP practices face £80m loss in pension changes

UK practices could lose £80m a year because of new pension changes, the BMA is warning.

Dr Porter: 'Clearly this would be impossible for GP practices to absorb.'
Dr Porter: 'Clearly this would be impossible for GP practices to absorb.'

Changes which come into force in 2016 could hit GPs with higher employer and employee National Insurance (NI) rates.

The BMA said the threat arises from the abolition of the second state pension in two years’ time, and the consequent end of NI rebates for NHS Pension Scheme members, who do not qualify.

GPs would face higher NI rates as both employers and pension scheme members.    

BMA chairman, Dr Mark Porter, wrote in a letter to Treasury minister Danny Alexander: ‘Clearly this would be impossible for GP practices to absorb and I would be grateful for your assurance that this cost would be met with a commensurate increase to practice funding.’

Mr Alexander told the BMA he recognised the impact the change would have on GPs.

He added that government spending and department budgets were yet to be set beyond 2015/16, and the NI increase would be ‘taken into account at the appropriate time as part of a wider consideration of how best to deliver public services’.

In a separate development, the BMA, alongside other health unions and NHS Employers, warned that possible changes to the valuation of NHS pensions could lead to a ‘multi-million pound funding gap’ that would have to be plugged by increased employers’ contributions.

The unions say calculations being used by Treasury officials, such as salary rises, to predict the future cost of the scheme could leave a shortfall of £1.7bn for NHS employers to pick up.

A joint statement by the NHS unions said: ‘This movement of NHS resources from care to pensions will have a significant impact on the service’s ability to deliver quality care supported by the appropriate skill mix of staff to deliver it.’

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