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New GPs ‘better off with private pensions’, BMA warns

New doctors paying into the government's proposed pension scheme would be better off leaving the NHS Pension Scheme and going private, the BMA has warned.

The BMA released initial figures drawn from modelling, which show that the potential pension a junior doctor embarking on a career as a GP could expect to build up in the NHS scheme, if it undergoes the reforms proposed by the government, could be lower than the pension built up by investing in a personal scheme in which there are no employer contributions.

It comes after the BMA's annual representative meeting voted to ballot members over threats to current arrangements and, as Pulse exclusively revealed that all 17 health unions are working on a joint approach to protect the NHS pension scheme and possible coordinated strike action across the NHS.

The figures show the proposals to increase the retirement age could have a dramatic impact a newly qualified GPs.

Under the proposed reforms, a junior doctor currently aged 30 could expect to work to the age of 68 rather than 60. Over the course of the additional eight years worked, they could expect to pay more than £140,000 in contributions.

BMA's pensions committee chairman Dr Andrew Dearden, a GP in Cardiff, said:  ‘There is great anger and fear among doctors and medical students. And rightly so, when you consider that the NHS pension scheme is in a very different position from other public sector schemes. It went through a major overhaul only three years ago. And for all the talk of it not being affordable to the taxpayer, it is currently delivering a massive surplus of £2 billion per year to the Treasury.'

A DH spokesperson said: ‘The Government has accepted Lord Hutton's recommendations as a basis for consultation with public sector workers, unions and others. Proposals will be set out in the autumn that are affordable, sustainable, and fair to both public sector workers and the taxpayer.'

An NHS Employers spokesperson said: ‘We are currently awaiting the outcome of the Government's response to the Hutton Review and, until then, it would be inappropriate to speculate on the impact of a particular change for one group of staff.'