Possible industrial action by doctors over proposed pension changes

In addition to all the controversy of late on the cuts in pensions within the public sector, doctors have now gotten into the foray. Leaders have voted in favour of balloting for industrial action. Changes to doctors’ pensions have the medical profession up in arms and relations will between government and doctors are at an all-time low.

The recent decision to ballot for industrial action opens the door for the first time since the year 1975 when the junior doctors disputed their contracts in order to maintain a 40 hour work week. At that time the doctors union chose not to strike for the safety of patients.

Currently the British medical Association is angered about the prospect that young doctors will be paying twice what their current contributions are and will need to remain at their jobs until they are almost 70 years of age.

There are more than 140,000 medical students and doctors in the union and one of the main disputes is that some of the highest paid of those will need to contribute about 14% of what they earn in order to be able to retire at full pension.

The BMA and Andrew Lansley are at odds over the proposed reforms which will affect the National Health Service. If these changes are allowed to take place, by the year 2046 medical professionals will not be able to retire until they are age 68 and still draw a full pension.

Currently, the retirement age is 60 under the arrangements made in 1995 and for the scheme which came into play in 2008, medical professionals will be up to retire at 65 with the same full pension. The BMA claims that the NHS pension is in good standing because of a rise in what doctors were paying which now amounts to 8.5%, up from 6% in 2008.

Approximately 2/3 of those responding stated that they would be in favour of industrial action if government does not change their offer. What the industrial action will be still remains to be seen.

Author: Sam Allcock
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