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Will NHS market ruin our pensions?

The Government is proposing to raise the NHS retirement age and increase pension contributions, and is busy manipulating the way the pension is calculated in order to lower the final amount paid out.

It says that the NHS pension is unaffordable. Yet the NHS Employers website states that in 2005/06, £6.3bn of pension contributions were paid into the NHS Pension Scheme and £3.7bn was paid out to pensioners. This represents a £2.6bn profit.

There is, in fact, around a £2bn surplus generated each year by the NHS Pension Scheme. That should cover the extra costs of an ageing population. It could be said that the NHS pension fund appears to work rather well. It is also a reward for the NHS employees who spend their working lives serving the citizens of this country.

So what's the problem? Simple. What happens when you outsource NHS services to private corporations? NHS employees are substituted by the employees of a private company who are no longer members of the NHS Pension Scheme.

They don't pay in and they don't collect when they retire. What happens when this happens on a large scale?

The NHS Pension Scheme collapses. It relies on current employees paying the pensions of those who have retired.

It works, it's fair and it makes a profit. But only if NHS services are provided by NHS employees who pay into the NHS pension pot.

From Dr Simon Moore, Crouch End, North London