By Laura Passi
Exclusive: The Government's proposed raid on GP pensions has outstripped the health bill as the profession's number one concern, and could even prompt GPs to consider industrial action as a 'last resort', says BMA chair Dr Hamish Meldrum.
Dr Meldrum told Pulse said he had been inundated with letters on pensions from GPs unhappy at plans to raise the age of retirement and increase contributions.
The GPC last week moved to reassure GPs that any changes to their pensions would not be retrospective, but negotiators have warned there would be a 'serious problem' if the Government implements Lord Huton's Hutton review in full.
Dr Meldrum said that the BMA would 'fight' to defend GP's pensions terms, and was working closely with other unions. But he admitted: 'It is going to be a hard struggle.'
He said: 'Industrial action is very much a last resort. But I certainly don't underestimate the strength of feeling out there in the profession. I probably have more letters on pensions then I have had on any other subject in the last year and that includes the Health and Social Care Bill.'
'It is going to have a significant impact on potentially doctors having to work longer, probably having to pay more and even their final pensions not being quite so good. It is a potential triple whammy.'
The Pulse 'No to 65' petition on pensions has been signed by more than 1,300 GPs so far, and will be delivered to 10 Downing Street in June.Dr Hamish Meldrum Click here to sign our petition No to 65