The British Medical Association is urging ministers to rethink ‘their damaging plans’ to make changes to the NHS Pension Scheme.
The announcement comes following the publication of a new Bill in yesterday’s Queen’s Speech.
As part of the Queen’s Speech, the Government announced its intention to introduce a Public Service Pensions Bill which is the Government’s approach to bringing about major changes to public sector pension schemes, including the NHS Pension Scheme. These include raising the normal pension age for NHS staff, which comes on top of increases in contribution rates.
The BMA has also confirmed that it will be balloting eligible members on industrial action over the changes between 14 and 29 May 2012.
Dr Alan Robertson, Chair of the BMA’s Pension Committee, said: “The BMA is gravely concerned that ministers are still intent on pushing ahead with their unnecessary and unfair changes to the NHS pension scheme.
“Doctors and other NHS staff agreed substantial changes to their pension scheme in 2008 to make it sustainable for the future. This included an acceptance of increases in contributions and a rise in the normal pension age. Staff also agreed to take on responsibility for further increases needed to cover cost increases, such as those created by people living longer.
“The Government now wants to scrap this agreement, even though the scheme currently delivers £2 billion to the Treasury each year.
“There is real anger amongst hard working doctors about the way they have been treated. The Government must think again and re-open negotiations with the BMA so we can find a fair solution.”
The Royal College of Nursing has also expressed dismay at the Bill claiming the long-term physical burden of nursing has not been taken into account and the issue will need to be revisited.
"This speech shows the Government is pressing ahead with changes to public sector pensions," said RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary Dr Peter Carter. "We remain concerned about these proposals, in particular linking a nurse’s retirement age to rises in the state pension age."
The Government has claimed the reforms will make pensions more sustainable, with costs shared between employers, workers and taxpayers 'more fairly'.