Female GPs' pensions to rise after BMA victory

The value of female GPs' pre-1988 pension contributions could rise to same level as males, after the BMA won the right to apply for a judicial review on widowers' pensions.

Dr Fabre: ‘wonderful first step’ (Photograph: Tom Wichelow)

Under the current rules, when a female GP dies her husband receives a pension based only on contributions made after 1988. However, any payments made before then would be worthless.

But if a male GP leaves a widow, her pension would be calculated on all contributions.

If the judicial review is successful, the value of female GPs' pension contribution could rise. The hearing aimed at changing the regulations is expected to take place in spring next year.

The BMA has mounted several campaigns against the legislation, but was, until recently, advised that court action would be unlikely to succeed.

But recent European case law and the introduction of the Human Rights Act have allowed the recent legal challenge to go-ahead.

Dr Clarissa Fabre, president of the Medical Women's Federation, said she was 'absolutely delighted' with the result.

'We have been working for this for 20 years without success, so this is wonderful first step,' she said.

But Dr Fabre also outlined that it will cost the government 'quite a lot money' to rectify the situation if the judicial review is successful.

Dr Fabre said that the associated costs should not jeopardise a change in regulations.

She said: 'It's a bad economic climate, that's for sure. But that's not the point. There really is no moral justification for this ruling.'

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