June 2024 news for retired members

Retired members committee chair Peter Curry discusses changes to the way BMA members meet and organise at a local level, and asks for members to vote at the AGM

Location: UK
Published: Wednesday 12 June 2024
Peter Curry

We live in interesting times. Since I last put metaphorical pen to paper, we now find ourselves in the midst of a Westminster election. Many of our branches of practice remain in dispute with our monopoly political masters, and we have a five-day strike expected by our resident (formerly junior) doctor colleagues in advance of election day on 4 July.

BMA divisions and AGM

Our position within the BMA as retired members is potentially subject to very significant change, as a result of the proposals for restructuring the divisional system. While clearly there were active and inactive divisions, and an ARM (annual representative meeting) policy to review the process, there are concerns expressed – including very vocally at the retired members conference – about the proposed changes, and indeed about the way we had been represented in some of the consultation comments.

Quite where this will leave us is, at present, still a little unclear, but it seems likely we will have regional retired members units in England and national units in the devolved nations. At local level the drive is clearly to a much more union chapter approach around workplaces; although it appears they may still be called divisions, there will potentially be many more than the current number of divisions.

All of this requires changes to the articles and bye-laws, which need to be confirmed at the AGM (annual general meeting). The AGM, which you are entitled to attend (you don’t need to be attending the ARM in Belfast, and can join remotely), is at 12.20 on 25 June. It would be very good to have your support and consideration at the AGM. You need to register to attend in advance (as soon as possible), and all the details including the documentation can be found here.

If you cannot attend, any of the officers of the retired members committee (or indeed anyone else you may wish to nominate) would be happy to act as proxy for you. Your vote is important – please do not allow it to be wasted.

You may also be interested in nominating yourself for committee seats elected at the ARM; election details can be found here.


A reminder that if your pension is not increasing each April, it should be, and you should contact the BMA’s pensions department. We are aware this has happened to a number of members and it is entirely possible that they have not all yet been tracked down.

The McCloud remedy and the sorting out of this rumbles on; this relates to the remedy period between 2015 and 2022. If you were in the pension scheme before 2015 and either worked throughout the period or perhaps even retired during this period, you should at some stage get an illustration from the pensions agency of what it might have meant if you had taken different pension scheme choices during this period and allowing you the opportunity to revise your choice. Please do consider these notices and if appropriate take action.

Claims for doctors with long COVID

If you have had to retire early due to long COVID, you should be aware that in March this year, a judge ordered that cases involving healthcare workers with long COVID should be brought together and known as ‘The COVID Healthcare Worker Claims’. The BMA understands that eligible health workers are required to notify their intention to bring a claim by no later than 5 July 2024. Find out more.

Next steps

I will be at the ARM (annual representative meeting) in Belfast in just over a week’s time and will be looking out for your interests as retired members. We also met last week with all the retired members in elected and representative positions (above divisions) throughout the BMA to explore the issues facing us and how we can improve the support the BMA provides to you in retirement.

Committee elections and thank you

We elect our committee officers from amongst the elected members of the retired members committee on an annual basis, and so from the conclusion of the ARM in Belfast we will need to elect officers again.

It has been a busy year as chair, as well as facing some of my own personal challenges. It would have been impossible without the support of Stephen Millar, my deputy chair, and Laura Clark, who has done her best at the BMA to keep us in order and on the straight and narrow. There has been valuable contribution from Surjait Singh and Tom Kane as chair and deputy chair of the retired members conference, which was an important highlight of the year, as well as my fellow members of the retired members committee. A particular thank you to Nicola Mann and Tom Kinloch, the members leaving the committee, and welcome to the two new members, John Hughes and Catherine Royce, who will be joining us at the end of ARM.

Lastly, thank you to all of you as retired members of the BMA, many of whom I have spoken with, but equal thanks to those whom I have not. You are an important part of the BMA, and long may the association continue to value our contributions – we do need to stand up and be counted.

I wish you well for the rest of the year and look forward to meeting more of you in due course. As I write this and we enter summer, the wind is blowing all around the house and they are forecasting snow in the hills overnight. What a topsy turvy world…

Peter Curry is chair of the BMA retired members committee