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GPs go forth

GPs face long wait until retirement as review omits them from age-related 'risk' list

GPs face working late into their sixties before qualifying for an NHS pension after a major review excluded the profession from a list of ‘at risk’ jobs that were difficult to do later on in life.

Preliminary findings from the Working Longer Review group - which includes representation from the BMA - said that it had identified dentists, surgeons and midwives as groups who would struggle to carry on in their jobs if retirement ages were raised over 60 years. But not GPs.

The GPC criticised the omission of GPs from the list of ‘at risk’ professions, saying there is a lack of understanding of how strenuous working as a GP is.

The Working Longer Review group has been considering ‘how NHS staff will continue to provide excellent and compassionate care when
they are working longer’ and was a last-ditch attempt to block chancellor George Osborne’s plans to increase the retirement age to 65 years by 2015, and subsequently 68 years by 2046.

Last year, the BMA said it hoped the Working Longer Review - a group of trade unions, NHS Employers and the Department of Health - would decide that those with physically or mentally demanding jobs could have their retirement age capped earlier.

But a review of evidence from University of Bath researchers - published last year - that found NHS workers were capable of working longer when reporting to the Government last year.

This new evidence is a further blow, omitted GPs from the list of ‘at risk’ professions. The list included nurses, midwives, porters, paramedics, catering and estates staff, surgeons, mental health practitioners, radiographers, community health workers, physiotherapists and dentists.

According to the review group’s evidence call from NHS staff, there was ‘a very high level of concern about their physical and psychological capability to undertake their NHS duties for a longer period of time’.

The report stated: ‘The fear of burnout and the cumulative impact of very physically demanding jobs are cited by most as the reason why they think working longer will pose a problem to safe and effective service delivery and excellent patient care in the future… The following areas of risk were identified…’

Despite a ‘day of action’ in June 2012, the BMA has all but conceded that GPs will have to continue paying up to 14.5% pensions contributions after the Pensions Act is enshrined in law.

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said he was disappointed in the findings. He said: ‘Yes we had hoped to be treated in line with other doctors, particularly those who are in stressful situations. Large numbers of GPs are looking to retire and we struggle to retain doctors. Pensions are one of the issues that are driving GPs away and that needs to be recognised by Government or they will face a crisis of recruitment and retention. They need to actually deal with that urgently.’

‘GPs do all of those jobs, essentially, so I think that the fact that GPs aren’t on that list is quite odd. There is a lack of understanding of what is involved in general practice and the pressures on GPs, but it is all too obvious when you look at the numbers who are looking at retiring as soon as possible.’

‘You are almost running a marathon in general practice every day just to keep on top of the workload, do ten-minute consultations, repeatedly dealing with emergency situations. You need to be mentally and physically fit to cope with that.’


Readers' comments (51)

  • At this rate I don't think I'll make it to 60. Best to leave now with an intact brain .

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  • HMG can TAFF AT ARD ; A lovely American expression translated as Take A flying F''' at A Rolling Doughnut. Rather graphic .

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  • Good to know the BMA will always fight our corner with a spineless softyl worded when required, I may be working until I keel over during morning surgery but at least I will not be wasting any more on subscriptions to a toothless trade union.

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  • Excuse omissions above.
    Softly worded criticism when required.
    Subscription not subscriptions.

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  • Agree with bob nhs pension scheme no longer fit for purpose,I have left the scheme and my partner in his 40s about to leave at end of month as worked out £1800 of pension now costs £47000 in contributions and tax a year!!! You all need to get out of this scheme now

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  • Una Coales

    Pensions are exempt from contractual law. Remember this. Terms may change at government's whim.

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  • Tom Caldwell

    So in short work until you drop then they don't have to give us any pension

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  • Isn't this all getting a bit silly now? 68 is unrealistic, I'm just trying to imagine it now but I can't quite envisage practicing safely. Surely it's time to leave the NHS for greener pastures before these proposals get even more absurd?

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  • Lazy lazy nhs gp's, always bleeding. Just leave the nhs or take the abuse. Simple. - private GP with a private pension!

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  • Time for us all to leave the nhs and work as truly independent providers on a fee for service basis. I am beyond caring whether this is worse for patients. You reap what you sow - daily mail etc. Time to look after ourselves as noone else will

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