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BMA begins crunch talks on pensions

The BMA has opened crunch talks with NHS Employers and union representatives as it strives to exert leverage on the Government over controversial changes to doctors' pensions.

The parties met last week at a meeting of the technical advisory group of the NHS Pension Scheme governance group, in the first talks to be held since the BMA suspended industrial action in July and agreed to inter-union discussions on the contribution increases due to come in April 2013.

The Department of Health has said that an agreement for 2013/14 rates must be reached by January 2013.

Dr David Bailey, deputy chair of the BMA pensions committee told Pulse that last week's meeting covered two sets of discussions: the first, on existing contribution rates and the second, on contributions under the CARE (career average re-valued earnings) scheme from 2015.

‘We're putting forward our evidence on these. The system stands to be unfair to higher paid workers from 2015 as doctors will have to pay a higher proportion of their earnings than less-well paid staff.

‘We're very much at the start of these discussions, we´re not expecting any change in the short term.'

The BMA is also involved in separate talks as part of the Government's Working Longer Review, which is examining whether NHS workers should be working until 68, whether they can move into back-office roles, and how the DH can make it easier to purchase earlier retirement.