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GPs back drastic action on pensions

By Laura Passi

Exclusive: Four GP partners in five are fiercely opposed to the Government's plans to raise their retirement age to 65 and a third would support industrial action, a Pulse survey has revealed.

Our survey of 260 GPs showed 71% opposed plans to seek financial savings by raising the retirement age, with 22% supporting the move. The majority of GPs surveyed were prepared to take drastic action to oppose the plans, including backing the BMA to mount a legal challenge to the proposals (63%) and boycotting local commissioning work (48%).

Of the GP partners surveyed, a greater proportion (81%) oppose the plans to raise the retirement age to 65 and one in three would be prepared for more intensive industrial action, such as only working in emergencies or core contractual duties.

More than 1,000 GPs have signed up to Pulse campaign ‘No to 65' petition. Pulse reported in December the Government planned to increase the GP retirement age from 60 to 65, and that ministers were planning ‘progressive increases' to pension contributions from 2012 to 2014.

Dr Richard Kippax, a GP partner in Hereford said: ‘I am completely prepared to strike about how we have had changes in our GP contract imposed on us - it is thoroughly disgraceful how our pensions have been unilaterally eroded.'

Dr Juneja Sanjeev, a GP partner in Rochester, Kent said: ‘At this time, leaving pensions and retirement age where they are, would probably be the most significant positive gesture towards general practice any government could make and would prevent morale from touching rock bottom.'

Last month the plans to reform NHS pensions received the green light in the Budget, following the publication of a review of public sector pensions by Lord Hutton, which recommended the changes.

GPs back drastic action on pensions Click here to sign our petition No to 65