BMA defends NHS pensions scheme

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 Andrew Dearden (pictured), chairman of the BMA’s pensions committee, said the NHS’s pension scheme is financed by employees and employers rather than taxpayers, and had already recently been reviewed to deliver value for money.

Former work and pensions secretary John Hutton is leading a review of pubic 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%. GP members of the scheme also pay employer contributions of 14%.

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