1932: Doctor X – Michael Curtiz
The report from the BMA that was released yesterday suggested that the changes to the NHS Pension Scheme will, as predicted, be a long battle. The BMA survey which was sent to members and associates in the first few days of the year had a very high level of respondents. There were 46,300 responses to the online and postal questionnaire. The results claim that 84% believe the Government’s proposals for further reform of the NHS Pension Scheme were unacceptable, with 63% willing to take industrial action over the issue. This has given the BMA and Unions the necessary mandate to examine options for a ballot about possible industrial action, should the Government continue to press ahead. This is scheduled to be held on Saturday 25th February.
Those caught by the proposals most impacted are 10 years or more away from retirement. The BMA suggest that over a third of doctors would consider early retirement if the changes proceed, this is also my own experience having met with a considerable number. In essence for most the scheme will become more expensive, have a later retirement date and be based upon career average earnings for all doctors (whichever scheme they are currently members).
The NHS Pension scheme has had significant reforms already and the previous Government with intentions to restrict tax relief to high earners, scored something of an own-goal with the reduction in the annual allowance and the way that this is calculated for members of pension schemes like the NHS. An own goal, because it was poorly thought through and could lead to double-taxation of many Doctors – particularly high earning Consultants with Awards. The NHS Pensions Agency have not been able to adapt their IT systems quickly enough to provide the necessary information in time for the tax year end, last suggestions were that such information would not be available until July.
As a consequence, advice for doctors in the NHS pension scheme has become an awful lot more complex. This is of course made worse by the proposals which have not been agreed. The NHS Pension Scheme is one of the largest in Britain and one of the best. Every pay rise makes it increasingly valuable. I have over 20 years of experience advising on the scheme, if you need to discuss your options about retirement please get in touch. 
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