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'We are taking home less pay and seem to be working harder'

The BMA is considering taking industrial action if the Government goes ahead with its NHS pension reforms.

Dr Andrew Dearden, BMA pensions committee chair, said the association had 'no qualms' about pushing for action if ministers continued to ignore doctors' protests.

The BMA council discussed the move at its meeting last week amid growing dissatisfaction from GPs and consultants over the pension plans.

The BMA has estimated the proposals to raise the retirement age from 60 to 65 and bring in a career average earnings scheme across the NHS could knock 16 per cent off the value of GPs' pensions.

'I have no opposition or qualms about industrial action but like any tool it has to be used in the right way,' Dr Dearden said.

Many GPs backing Pulse's Manifesto for General Practice said pensions was their main concern.

Dr Clive Harries, a GP in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, said the change in retirement age had 'screwed up my financial planning'. He said: 'I feel as though the carpet has been taken out from under me. I understand the public may find it hard to fund public sector pensions but I would rather it didn't affect me.'

Dr Dearden said the BMA would find it difficult to go it alone and would need the support of other NHS unions.

'If one million workers say we don't like this that's a powerful group to be part of,' he said. Industrial action did not necessarily mean a strike, Dr Dearden added.

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