GPs could be £230,000 worse off as a result of pension changes

Changes to public sector pensions could mean that GPs pay £230,000 more over the course of their careers and get a worse deal on retirement, BMA research shows.

The DoH is proposing to increase the amount NHS staff pay for their pensions, raising the current contribution of 8.5% of salary to 10.9% by 2012 and possibly to 14.5% by 2014.

But the BMA’s calculations shows that this would mean a junior doctor currently aged 25 pursuing a career as a GP and retiring at the future state pension age of 68 could have to make additional contributions of more than £230,000 between now and retirement.

It follows a warning from the BMA that GPs could be more than £120,000 worse off over their lifetime now that NHS pensions follow the consumer prices index (CPI) rather than the retail price index (RPI).

The new research also models the impact of the proposals to reform public sector pensions, as put forward by Lord Hutton. It could see a further increase in the normal retirement age and move from final salary to career average schemes.

The modelling shows that a doctor currently aged 25 and retiring as a GP aged 60 would receive a pension around £20,000 lower under Hutton’s proposals.

BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said the changes to the ‘financially healthy’ pension scheme are ‘unjustifiable’.

He said: ‘This isn’t about affordability, it’s about the Treasury looking for yet another quick hit from public sector workers.

‘Doctors need to be aware of the scale of the assault on their pensions. We’d encourage anyone with concerns about these changes to express their views directly to the DoH through its consultation exercise.’

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