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Doctors respond to BMA's rallying cry to oppose pension hikes

GPs have vented their anger about the coalition Government's ‘assault' on pensions en masse, with doctors submitting 90% of the consultation responses on the NHS pension hike, according to the BMA.

Figures from the DH, obtained by the BMA, confirm that doctors have sent in 900 of the 1,000 responses to the NHS pension consultation received so far.
 
BMA sources told Pulse the influx of responses from GPs and doctors to the consultation showed an encouraging early response to the BMA's call for every doctor to express their anger over the coalition's ‘assault on pensions'.
 
The consultation on NHS pensions runs until October. In order to make it easy for GPs to outline their opposition to the plans Pulse has produced a template response to the consultation that GPs can submit directly to the DH.
 
The revelations come in the wake of a coalition of health unions, including the BMA, threatening co-ordinated NHS wide industrial action if talks break down with the Government over its planned pension reforms. The unions confirmed discussions on potential ‘industrial action' but sources told Pulse that mass walkouts and strike action remain ‘a last resort'.
 
Earlier this month, in an exclusive interview with Pulse, Dr Andrew Dearden, chair of the BMA's pensions committee and a GP in Cardiff, called on every GP to use the DH consultation on pension contributions as a vehicle to lay out their opposition to the coalition's pensions plans. The consultation is technically restricted to discussions about how the pensions hike should be implemented, but the BMA is urging doctors to ignore the consultation boundaries.
 
At the time, Dr Dearden said: ‘The Government has to understand that doctors are thinking about, and are starting to, leave the pension scheme. If tens of thousands of doctors write to them and express their anger and concerns, they might just think twice about these proposals.'
 
The call was repeated by Dr Hamish Meldrum, chair of the BMA, who said:‘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 DH through its consultation.'
 
Today, a DH spokesperson said:‘The NHS pension will remain one of the very best available, providing a guaranteed pension level for all employees. We will also protect the pensions people have already earned. None of the rights people have accrued will be affected.'
 
‘Constructive talks on pensions are still ongoing. It would be very wrong to make assumptions about their outcome.'

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