If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume you’re happy to receive all cookies from the BMA website. Find out more about cookies
When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalised web experience.
Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.
These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms.
You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.
These cookies are required
These cookies allow us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information we collect is anonymous unless you actively provide personal information to us.
If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.
These cookies allow a website to remember choices you make (such as your user name, language or the region you're in) and tailor the website to provide enhanced features and content for you.
For example, they can be used to remember certain log-in details, changes you've made to text size, font and other parts of pages that you can customise. They may also be used to provide services you've asked for such as watching a video or commenting on a blog. These cookies may be used to ensure that all our services and communications are relevant to you. The information these cookies collect cannot track your browsing activity on other websites.
Without these cookies, a website cannot remember choices you've previously made or personalise your browsing experience meaning you would have to reset these for every visit. In addition, some functionality may not be available if this category is switched off.
Our websites sometimes integrate with other companies’ sites. For example, we integrate with social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, to make it easier for you to share what you have read. These sites place their own cookies on your browser as a result of us including their icons and ‘like’ or ‘share’ buttons on our sites.
A lot has happened over the summer, Brexit, a new Prime Minister, Brexit, parliamentary defeats, Brexit, speaker resigns, Brexit, Government defections, Brexit, Brexit, Brexit and prorogue.
While pensions may not quite be front and foremost in every voter’s mind, compared to the daily soap opera of parliamentary life, it is however still very much at the forefront of the BMA’s priorities. Amongst the political cacophony you would be forgiven for not catching the Government’s eventual acceptance “that the interaction between the NHS pension scheme and the pensions tax regime is driving a behavioural response from NHS clinicians to reduce their work commitments.” This echoes the BMA’s survey of 6000 members showing forty-two per cent of GPs and 30 per cent of consultants have already reduced their hours, while of those remaining 34 per cent of GPs and 40 per cent of consultants now plan to reduce their hours. It is to be hoped that such an acceptance from Government will lead to a real commitment to work with the BMA to resolve this issue.
What has been most striking over the last eight weeks, is how much has changed. First came the government pensions announcement on 7 August which confirmed what the BMA had warned that a consultation on a 50:50 basis was not acceptable. That this has now been replaced with a new consultation which will consider full flexibility is further proof that our message and the support it has received from stakeholders is beginning to hit home. While the new consultation is by no means perfect, lacking reference both to full and expected recycling of employer contributions and the crucial issue of annualisation for GP sessionals, it is an improvement and it does show that government is beginning to listen to us and to you.
Furthermore, the Treasury, which had been a stonewall of impenetrable silence, has revealed the beginnings of a fissure, with the BMA meeting with them and other key stakeholders last week to discuss further tax reform, including the annual allowance and taper.
Those of us who have been campaigning tirelessly over the past 18 months, including those who sent almost 3, 000 letters to local MPs, those who answered our surveys, and those who helped us develop tools and case studies to demonstrate the depth of the problem and the very real impact on patients and waiting times - we are making progress.
However, progress is what it is, we are not yet at the point where we can celebrate success – the end goal is still pension reform of the annual allowance, amongst other pension taxation reforms. Success is when these issues are resolved, and doctors are not having to turn down additional work or retire early simply to avoid large unexpected tax bills. Success is GPs getting accurate pension statements on time, a solution to annualisation and doctors receiving advice they can rely on, while having employers who follow the new guidance to give them flexibility where and when it may be needed.
Whatever happens politically over the coming weeks and months, it is important to acknowledge where we have got to with the support of our members. As we push for reforms that meet the needs of doctors and allow those doctors to once again meet the needs of the patients they care for.
If you have not yet used the BMA Goldstone Pensions Modeller you can access it here. The Modeller has recently had further functionality added and now accommodates Staff and Associate Grade doctors in addition to Consultants in the 1995 and 2015 schemes. It is anticipated that the Modeller will shortly include provision to deal with service in the 2008 pension scheme in addition. We will also soon be advising and supporting members to submit their own responses to the Government’s new consultation, as well as working on a formal BMA response.
Rob Harwood is chair of the BMA consultants committee
Looking forward to reform of ill-health retirement regulations which increase poverty or ill-health in those with most serious illness
I have had to withdraw from the pension scheme due to punitive taxation and have calculated the annual lifetime rewards loss to be in the region of 3.5 to 4 PA of my salary. Any agreement without full recycling of employer contribution to the consultant must be rejected.
What about the BMA copying the Firemen and judiciary and getting our retirement age back to that we agreed when we started our pensions.
It was age discriminatory. Do I need to take out a private case?
Progress?results? I believe it when i see it.how come there is a difference in the recycling of the employers contribution between trusts..this should not be allowed in a national contract.
Unless it's a major overhaul I will still be retiring early and reducing hours. Also still upset about the changes to the "old" CEA and the imminent loss of pension benefits. The effect on my 95 scheme would force me to retire early.
Progress has not been made.
BMA and doctors in general are far too soft. This is a disgraceful raid on the pension scheme which kept doctors loyal to the NHS. Once this loyalty is gone the NHS will wither and fall.
A consultant colleague, aged 57, yesterday informed me that he had an additional tax bill of £25,000. He is now retiring to return as an agency locum costing the NHS 2-3 TIMES AS MUCH , not to mention the current shortage of doctors in his specialty so replacing him will be difficult. He has no private practice but has been penalised on account of his record of clinical excellence (CEA awards).
I cannot understand how the Government, our professional bodies and the BMA have permitted this to occur and even how we continue to tolerate this injustice.
Our local MP (who is a member of the Government) has expressed no public concern regarding the premature retirement of general practitioners in his constituency leading to local disintegration of primary care.
Five minutes on the street outside our hospital would raise the public profile of this issue even above Brexit and Trump investigation etc.
We need to ACT NOW for the benefit of our patients and our colleagues. Otherwise, the erosion of irreplaceable clinical experience will lead to a further severe reduction in morale in the senior medical workforce and a detrimental effect on waiting times for both hospital and GP appointments.
Its shocking that the government does nothing to support the understaffed NHS , but only avoiding real discussions ! It is highly unacceptable that we are struggling to meet targets secondary to poor recruitment and cancer and other patients have to wait 24 weeks to be seen.
To end this unfair, punitive tax assault on senior clinicians (and all other senior government employees with defined benefit pension schemes) the BMA (together with other unions whose members are affected) must demand immediate changes to;
1. Annual allowance taper- either scrap it or change the way our threshold income is calculated so that we are not trapped in a situation that we dare not do any extra work and consider reducing our current work. It also leaves us unable to work harder to pay the tax bills!
2. Increase the AA amount so that even with a taper we are not trapped
3. Back date any changes to when the taper came in to refund those already unfortunate enough to have worked hard for the NHS only to have had to pay massive tax bills
In addition has the BMA considered how this tax is unfair to those that previously worked part time (e.g due to children) and now either wish to increase their sessions or had hoped when working full time again in later career to be able to increase their pension to make up for years lost due to part -time working?
-increasing sessions = surge in 1995 scheme = punitive tax bill
-taper when working full time prevents you being able to make up for reduced pension contributions when working part -time= sex discrimination (as most part-time workers are women)
-coming out of pension short term "hokey-cokey" approach will break any additional years contract in 1995 scheme so stops part -time workers who had these contracts again making up for lost pension contributions