NHS doctors to take industrial action over pension scheme changes

NHS doctors are to take industrial action over changes to their pension scheme.

The decision came following the results of a ballot taken on 29 May by the British Medical Association (BMA) council. Overall, 50% of the 104,544 doctors eligible to vote took part. A majority of those polled said they were prepared to take part in industrial action.

The changes to the NHS pension scheme include:

  • Doctors will have to pay up to 14.5% of their salaries in pension contributions.
  • Doctors will have to work longer to receive their pension, up to age 68 for younger doctors, in line with the rising state pension age.

The first day of action will take place on 21 June. Doctors will provide all urgent and emergency care, but postpone non-urgent cases.

Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the BMA council, said: “This clear mandate for action, on a very high turnout, reflects just how let down doctors feel by the government’s unwillingness to find a fairer approach to the latest pension changes and its refusal to acknowledge the major reforms of 2008 that made the NHS scheme sustainable in the long term.

“This is not a step that doctors take lightly. This is the first industrial action doctors have taken since 1975.

“We have consistently argued that the government should reconsider its position, and even at this stage we would much prefer to negotiate a fairer deal than to take action.

“We are not seeking preferential treatment but fair treatment. The government’s wholesale changes to an already-reformed NHS pension scheme cannot be justified.”

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