BMA reveals private pensions may be better than NHS

Junior doctors may be better off on a private pension scheme if pension reforms go ahead, the BMA has revealed.

Dr Dearden urged doctors not to act too soon and change their pensions.
Dr Dearden urged doctors not to act too soon and change their pensions.

Figures released by the BMA showed that young doctors would be better off investing in a private scheme than they would in the NHS Pension Scheme if planned reforms go ahead.

The increased retirement age would also have a dramatic effect on the amount of contributions junior doctors would be expected to pay.

The BMA said: ‘A junior doctor currently aged 30, who joined the NHS Pension Scheme at the age of 25 would currently expect to retire at 60.

‘If the normal retirement age in the NHS is increased to match the state pension age, the junior doctor could have to pay additional contributions for an additional eight years (between age 60 and age 68) amounting to over £140,000.’

In his blog, GP trainee and deputy chairman of the BMA's junior doctors committee Dr Ben Molyneux said he was worried about NHS pension reforms and would consider leaving in favour of a private scheme.

‘If I can earn a better rate on the open market with no employer contribution, why should I bother propping up a scheme delivering a surplus to the Treasury?’ Dr Molyneux said.

BMA pensions committee chairman Dr Andrew Dearden stressed that the figures are assumptions based on government-stated intentions not on changes that have been made. He urged doctors not to act too soon and change their pensions.  

‘We do not know yet what the government will actually do so please just hang on and do not do anything right now,’ Dr Dearden said.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said the BMA had calculated the figures in order to demonstrate ‘how bad the situation could get’.

The BMA and the GPC wanted to ‘bust the myth that public sector pensions are better than private sector pension schemes’, Dr Vautrey said.

The DoH said: 'The government has accepted Lord Hutton's recommendations as a basis for consultation with public sector workers, unions and others. Proposals will be set out in the autumn that are affordable, sustainable, and fair to both public sector workers and the taxpayer.

'The government stands by its previous commitments that the NHS Pension Scheme, along with other public service pension schemes will continue to be a 'gold standard' and among the very best available.'

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