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Next generation of GPs hardest hit by pensions hike, BMA warns

The next generation of GPs will be hardest hit by the Government's ‘assault' on pensions as they have 'far fewer options' than older doctors in protecting themselves from the reforms, the BMA has warned.

Speaking to Pulse, Dr Andrew Dearden, chair of the BMA's pensions committee and a GP in Cardiff, said that the next generation of GPs - already hit by mounting student debts - face paying up to £230,000 in extra contributions for a ‘far worse pension'.
He warned new doctors had ‘far fewer options' to resist the pension changes than older medics, who can opt to leave the scheme with any accrued savings protected.

Dr Dearden told Pulse: ‘While it is older doctors that are making the most noise about pensions, it is the next generation of doctors that are the most dramatically hit.

'We now have the Government effectively telling young doctors, at 25 years old, "we want up to £230,000 more from you for you to get a smaller pension, eight years later than you were expecting it."'

‘Older doctors will just leave the scheme but young doctors have far fewer options. They are being presented with an increasingly less attractive pension scheme as they start their careers.'

Dr Dearden claimed that the Government is still showing no appetite for negotiating on the planned pension hike, as revealed by Pulse earlier this month. Last week a coalition of health unions, including the BMA, threatened coordinated, NHS-wide industrial action if talks break down with the Government over the pensions reforms.

The £230,000 ‘assault' on GP pensions was first uncovered in BMA modelling released earlier this month. And Dr Dearden accused the Government of not being ‘transparent' about the impact of the pension reforms on doctors.

‘We have simply done numerical modelling and we had to do it because the Government did not do it, or at least would not publish it. It seems they had little or no idea of the impact this would have on doctors, because their focus has simply been on raising money. The Government has not been transparent about what these reforms mean and there has been no negotiation on the increase in contributions.'

A DH spokesperson said: ‘The NHS pension will remain one of the very best available, providing a guaranteed pension level for all employees. We will also protect the pensions people have already earned. None of the rights people have accrued will be affected. The pension individuals receive at normal pension age would be broadly as generous for low and middle income earners as it is now. Constructive talks on pensions are still ongoing. It would be very wrong to make assumptions about their outcome.'