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BMA granted judicial review into ‘unlawful’ Government handling of NHS pensions

judicial review pensions

The BMA has been granted a judicial review into the Government’s ‘unlawful’ handling of NHS pensions, it has announced.

The judicial review will see the doctors’ union appeal the Government’s decision to pass costs related to measures remedying its age discrimination against younger members onto NHS pension scheme members.

BMA pensions committee chair Dr Vishal Sharma said: ‘It’s hugely significant that the BMA has been granted permission to proceed to judicial review appealing the Government’s attempts to make members pay for the McCloud age discrimination remedy.

‘The Government acted unlawfully when reforming the NHS pension scheme in 2015, and consequently is obligated to fix its mistakes. However, instead of paying for this mistake itself, it has tried to pass this cost onto members. In effect, it is asking NHS staff and other public sector workers to pay for the Government’s unlawful actions.’

Dr Sharma said the NHS pensions scheme ‘was effectively in a surplus position at its last valuation and there was agreement between unions and the Government to increase benefits and reduce costs to bring the scheme back into balance’.

‘However, not only has the Government reneged on this agreement, but is also now trying to manipulate the process in order to avoid implementing the increase in benefits that NHS staff are entitled to.’

According to the BMA, the Government ‘continues to get things wrong when dealing with the NHS pension scheme and still fails to understand the detrimental impact that the complex NHS pension system and punitive pension taxation arrangements are having on members’.

‘In fact, these are some of the key reasons for falling recruitment and retention in the health service.’

The Fire Brigade Union has also issued a similar case, which will be heard alongside the BMA’s as the two overlap.

GP pension experts have recently warned that an average GP could be hit by a ‘nightmare’ £33k tax bill due to the ‘unfair’ way inflation is applied to their pension.

And a Pulse survey which revealed that half of the existing GP workforce plans to retire at or before the age of 60 saw doctors quote problems around pensions as a significant reason.