I am your new – well since the ARM – retired members committee chair for this year. I am a retired consultant anaesthetist but have had something of a portfolio career dabbling in other things and have been active in the BMA for some time including currently as an elected member of Scottish council and executive as well as attending UK council as RMC chair.
I must thank Brian Guttridge, my predecessor, for all the work he has done to move the RMC from a side line to a branch of practice, as well as looking at and fighting for benefits for retired members.
Since taking up the role there have been a number of issues that have taken up time.
Tom Kane has, and continues to, ably represent us on the pensions committee and, while this may not seem important to those of us claiming pensions, all those retiring between 2015 and 2022 need to consider whether they are affected by the McCloud remedy and need to consider alternative arrangements.
New pension rules also mean you can now return to work, make superannuation contributions and gain new pension rights, now also free of the lifetime allowance limits which affected many of us.
If you have any query relating to your occupational pension you can email the BMA pensions department directly. Alternatively, please call First Point of Contact who will forward your query to the pensions team and they will get back to you as soon as possible. Phone: 0300 123 1233. Email: [email protected]
Returning to work
The NHS England long term workforce plan envisages bringing back retired consultants into the workforce to support management of the currently broken NHS. This has been termed the NHS Emeritus Consultant programme/pilot.
We are now in active discussion with NHS England as to how this might work. We have highlighted a long list of issues but these include:
- Access for non consultants (SAS and GPs)
- Arrangements in devolved nations and access from there
- Registration and licencing arrangements required with the GMC
- Training and ongoing appraisal and revalidation.
We will keep you updated on this issue as we progress and will be interacting with other committees as required.
For those planning to attend the annual representative meeting in Belfast in 2024 we will have retired members dinner. This was advertised at the last minute this year but was successful and enjoyed (hopefully I am not biased) by all those that attended.
SAVE THE DATE– retired members dinner – Monday 24 June 2024, Belfast.
RMC will have a number of seats available to attend the ARM for those who are not entitled to a seat by another route.
RMC can submit motions for consideration by the ARM and these will be managed at the retired members conference about which more detail below.
Retired members conference
The 2024 retired members conference will be a hybrid event held on 14 March 2024 at BMA House in London and online. Conference chair, Surjait Singh, is planning an interesting programme which we will share with you shortly. You will be able to register for seats online from 8 January when we will email all retired members with full details.
SAVE THE DATE – retired members conference – Thursday 14 March 2024.
The temporary emergency registration arrangements were extended until March 2024 by Therese Coffey when she was briefly health and social care secretary, but only cover work related to the pandemic. The lack of clarity about what work can be carried out while on the temporary emergency register has been raised with the GMC.
Restructuring of the BMA
There is an ongoing consultation on the proposals to improve BMA’s local activist structures which were first widely publicised at the 2023 ARM. The RMC has met with staff within the BMA to discuss a number of issues as they in particular relate to retired members and these have been taken away for consideration.
There is an opportunity for us to respond formally as a branch of practice before the beginning of December and I would be happy to hear views of the new proposed structures and if needed pull together a formal response.
From a personal point of view I am concerned that the proposed structure, while replacing divisions, does little to foster closer understanding between those in primary and secondary care. This has been raised as an issue and a concern when we met recently with the staff taking this forward.
Physician associates and anaesthesia associates
There is much discussion about PAs and AAs at the moment and there is concern about a number who fail to highlight to patients that they are not doctors and about their imminent potential registration by the GMC. There are a number of options getting considered as to how the BMA might proceed and with their requirement to be supervised. You can read the BMA position statement on PAs and AAs here
Physician assisted dying is something on which the BMA has agreed a neutral stance and there are strong views within the BMA both in support and opposed. However legislation may soon be progressing in both Scotland and the Isle of Man so there is ongoing consideration of the need to protect members in the event of such changes becoming enacted.
You may have noticed ongoing industrial action and this is expected to continue. Obviously we are not in a position to take action but we may wish to provide moral support to members that are and contributions to the strike fund are always welcome, allowing the ongoing support of those members facing hardship as a result of taking action.
BMA membership – get in touch
Retaining members is important for the BMA to be credible and I would hope that you can encourage colleagues approaching or actually retired to continue membership as a retired member and that we find ways of increasingly valuing their contribution.
If there is anything that you want to get in touch with us for then please do not hesitate. Laura Clark [email protected] provides a central contract at BMA House and I can be contacted on [email protected]
Peter Curry is chair of the BMA retired members committee