‘Completely unacceptable’ for members to pay for Government’s pension mistakes, says BMA

Press release from the BMA

Location: UK
Published: Friday 11 June 2021

Responding to a report from the Public Accounts Committee on Public Sector Pensions1, Dr Vishal Sharma, BMA pensions committee chair, said:

“The BMA strongly opposed the pension changes in 2015, and welcomed the Court of Appeal’s decision in 2018 ruling that younger members had been unlawfully discriminated against.

“While the Government listened to us in some of its proposed solutions in February, as we said at the time and as this report from the Public Accounts Committee makes clear, it is completely unacceptable if members of the pension scheme are left to foot the bill for these changes. This was a problem entirely of the Government’s making and it is their mistake to fix.

“The report also notes the Government’s failure to fully appreciate the role pensions play in recruitment and retention, with the NHS pension scheme contributing a critical segment of staff’s total reward and remuneration package. However, as the BMA has long highlighted – and as the committee underlines in its paper – the complex and punitive NHS pension system continue to be key reasons behind the medical staffing crisis.

“The Government recently made changes to tackle similar recruitment and retention issues for judges, removing tax relief from employee contributions which means they are not subject to the additional taxation that has been so damaging to the medical workforce.

“Therefore, ministers should introduce similar measures for doctors and their colleagues to ensure that they can remain working in the health service at such a pivotal time for the nation’s health.”

Ends

Notes to editors

The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

  1. Please contact the Public Accounts Committee for a copy of the report.