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Dr Mark Porter’s letter to BMA members on the suspension of pensions industrial action

Pensions update from BMA Chair of Council

Click here to read the full news story.

Dear Dr

I am emailing to update you on next steps on NHS pension changes
following today's BMA Council meeting, where we reviewed the 21 June
day of action and the latest situation.

Having carefully considered a range of evidence and options, Council
decided to suspend plans for further industrial action and join other
health unions in talks with the government on the detail of changes to
the NHS scheme. We will also be stepping up our campaigning activities,
arguing for improvements in the longer term, particularly around the
increase in retirement age and the unfair treatment of the NHS scheme in
comparison to other public sector schemes.

Last month's action enabled doctors to send a strong and clear message
to government, while honouring our commitment to protect patient safety.
Despite the anticipated negative media coverage, research by Ipsos MORI
shows that many of the public have actually responded positively so far.
Public awareness of the dispute was high and there was more support for
doctors than the government immediately following the action. Click here
for more details.

The government has now written to health unions to begin talks to review
the impact of working longer and consider the proposed increases to
contributions in years two and three (2013/14 and 2014/15) and how they
relate to tiered contributions. Even though the core elements of the
government's plans remain, we believe there is some limited
opportunity for improvements through this process.

With other health unions now having ruled out industrial action, it is
increasingly clear that only by escalating our action would we be able
to influence the government to rethink its planned changes. We are
unwilling to do so at this stage because of the impact on our patients.

We will, of course, keep you fully informed about the discussions and
our campaign plans and the impact on your pension.

As NHS doctors, we are facing unprecedented challenges. As your new
chair, I want to ensure the best possible way forward to promote and
protect the profession. I want to hear your views on the pension dispute
and the other major issues facing us. Please get in touch through your
branch of practice committee, division or regional council – or email
me directly over the summer.


Dr Mark Porter
Chair of BMA Council