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BMA calls on every GP to join pensions fight

The BMA has issued a rallying cry for every GP in the country to join the fight to protect NHS pensions by responding individually to the Department of Health's ongoing consultation.

Speaking to Pulse, Dr Andrew Dearden, chair of the BMA pensions committee and a GP in Cardiff, urged every GP to use the consultation to vent their anger about the coalition's pensions plans, which include a six percentage-point hike in GP contributions and proposals to raise the GP retirement age to 65 and eventually to 68.

Almost 1,700 GPs signed Pulse's 'No to 65' petition protesting against the changes, which was delivered to Downing Street last month.

The DH consultation is technically restricted to discussions around how the pension contributions hike should be implemented, but the BMA is urging GPs to use it as a forum to lay out their concerns over all elements of the pensions plans.

Dr Dearden, who warned that the BMA is seeing growing numbers of doctors indicating they could leave the pension scheme, 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.'

'At the moment the Government is implementing this tax on pension contributions but they seem completely oblivious to its impact on the NHS Pension scheme as a whole. They risk destabilising one of the most stable public sector pension schemes around.'

The BMA said that the coalition was still planning to abolish final-salary pension schemes for consultants, a move that could trigger industrial action if forced through. A consultation on final-salary schemes and the retirement age for doctors is expected in the autumn.

Earlier this week, Pulse revealed GP pensions have already being eroded by up to £125,000 under a change forced through in April.

Click here to use Pulse's template to respond to the consultation.