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GP ‘added years’ safe from pension reforms, says BMA

The entitlement for GPs who are members of the 1995 pensions scheme to buy ‘added years’ for their NHS pension will be protected from the Government’s pensions reforms, the BMA has said.

The BMA said that the Department of Health has accepted that added years contracts, which allow members of the 1995 NHS pension scheme to buy additional years if they are unable to reach 40 years of membership, should not be altered or stopped as part of the wider NHS pensions changes. The move followed the DH and the BMA seeking legal advice on the issue.

The development means that GPs who have added years contracts under the 1995 scheme will be able to continue contributing to the added years scheme until the age of 60. As of 2015, their main pension contributions will go into the reformed NHS pensions scheme that is currently being voted on by BMA members.

The deal will not impact GPs who are part of the 2008 NHS pension scheme as the added years scheme was removed from the 2008 deal.

Dr Alan Robertson, chair of the BMA pensions committee, said:‘The BMA had sought legal advice on the position of added years and I am glad to see the Government has recognised that these should continue.’

‘Although for those members with such contracts this is a small bit of good news, we must remember that many younger members, who stand to be hardest hit by the proposed changes, did not have the opportunity of taking one of these contracts out after the option was removed in 2008.’

The news comes as the BMA is canvassing GP views on the Government’s final pensions offer. A pensions vote – including questions on the willingness of GPs to take industrial action – was sent to all BMA members last week. The vote closes on Monday with BMA Council considering how to act on the results at a Council meeting two days later.

In a bid to boost GP turnout for the vote, GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman has made a video appeal to GPs urging them to use the vote to voice their concerns over the Government’s pensions raid.