As pension talks get underway, Pulse plans to keep the pressure up on ministers with its ‘No to 65' campaign. And with the BMA calling for as many GPs as possible to respond individually to the Government's current consultation, we have prepared a template response to help you make your voice heard.
If you wish to respond directly to the consultation, you can read the Department of Health's proposals here, and email your response to email@example.com.
If you don't have time to put together your own individual response, then copy and paste the text below into an email, add your name at the top and then send it, again to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline for responses is 21 October. If you have any questions about Pulse's response or would like to let us know what you think of the Government's pension plans, email us at email@example.com.
Response to consultation on proposed increases to employee contribution rates effective from April 2012
Question A: Set out the preferred approach to delivering the required savings by increasing employee contributions to the NHS Pension scheme by the amounts set out in Table 1.
The Government should fully consult GPs and other doctors on the rise in employee contributions before asking us to present an ‘approach to delivering savings' based on us paying more in to our pensions. The Government has unilaterally imposed the contribution increases for 2012-13 without consulting the profession. Negotiations should cover the levels of contribution increases, as well as how they should be implemented, and should begin as soon as possible.
Question B: Other ways of delivering those savings through increased employee contributions within the Government's preferred scheme design parameters.
The Government should consult on all elements of its ‘preferred scheme design'. It is only three years since the last set of reforms to GP pensions and that process took three years of consultation between doctors and the previous government.
This Government must not rush through its pension reforms unilaterally without fully consulting the profession on all changes to the NHS Pension scheme.
An additional major concern is the proposal to impose a compulsory rise in GPs' retirement age from 60 to 65, and then eventually to 68. The proposed retirement age rise is flawed and should be dropped – the strength of feeling about this in the profession was shown by the 1,700 GPs who signed Pulse's ‘No to 65' petition, which was delivered to Downing Street in July.