BMA defends NHS pensions as 'fair'

The BMA has issued a robust response to the government's public sector pensions review, claiming the NHS scheme has actually delivered a surplus to the Treasury in recent years.

Dr Dearden: pensions 'no drain' (Photograph: Jason Heath Lancy)
Dr Dearden: pensions 'no drain' (Photograph: Jason Heath Lancy)

Dr Andrew Dearden, chairman of the BMA's pensions committee, said the NHS pension scheme is financed by employees and employers rather than taxpayers.

He pointed to the fact that the scheme had already been reviewed to deliver better value for money in 2008.

Former work and pensions secretary John Hutton is leading a review of public sector pensions after deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said many of the schemes were unfair and unsustainable.

But Dr Dearden said pensions for NHS staff 'are by no means a drain on the taxpayer'.

'They represent a fair deal for staff and value for money for the public,' he said.

'We understand the need to keep the NHS scheme fair and sustainable in the long term, which is why we accepted the major changes recommended by the review in 2008.'

Following reforms in 2008, the normal pension age for new staff increased from 60 to 65, and employers' contributions were capped, while contributions from doctors increased by up to 2.5 per cent.

GP members of the scheme also pay employer contributions of 14 per cent on behalf of practice staff.

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