A Suffolk MP who is still a practicing medic hit out at fellow doctors today after thousands of them voted to take industrial action over proposed changes to their pension schemes.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

Suffolk Central MP Dan Poulter continues to practice medicine as an NHS hospital doctor on a part-time basis, but yesterday he suggested the public would not accept well paid doctors taking industrial action.

His comments came after the British Medical Association (BMA) announced that following a ballot of its members, 24 hours of industrial action would take place on June 21 with the threat of further action to follow.

The move was a response to proposed changes which the BMA claims will mean doctors paying in more to their schemes and working for longer for a similar sized pension.

Dr Poulter said: “As a doctor, my first duty is to my patients. That is why I would not participate in strike action. Doctors have taken the wrong decision today, urged on by their trade union the BMA. Industrial action will harm patient care.

“With the government’s final offer to doctors being a pension of £68,000 a year, the public will simply not understand why doctors have called for strike action over pensions that private sector workers and many other frontline NHS workers can only dream of.”

The government says pension reform is necessary because people are living longer. Today, a 60-year-old doctor retiring can expect to enjoy 29 years of retirement. This means drawing a pension for almost the same time as they actually worked for the NHS, some 36 years.

By contrast, a doctor retiring at 60 in 1984 could only expect to live for 20 years in retirement. Both would have paid similar amounts for their pension, but the extra nine years for today’s doctors will cost the taxpayer around £440,000 extra per pension.

Under the new arrangements Treasury officials claim a doctor joining the new scheme after 2015 can expect a pension of over £53,000 at age 65. Meanwhile if they retire at the new state pension age of 68 the doctor could expect a pension of around £68,000 per year.

In yesterday’s ballot - in which some 50,000 doctors took part - a clear majority of GPs, consultants, junior doctors, associate specialist and speciality doctors, and public health and community health doctors said they were prepared to take part in both industrial action short of a strike and a strike.

The BMA said doctors were taking action reluctantly but that pension changes were the final straw after NHS staff had already suffered a pay freeze. It added that emergency cases would still be treated while non-urgent cases would be postponed.

The organisation also complained that the government had begun to implement changes despite “widespread criticism” of its approach from organisations representing health professionals.

It claimed the changes would see doctors paying up to 14.5pc of their salaries in pension contributions, twice as much as some other public sector staff on a similar wage. They would also have to work longer, up to the age of 68 to receive their pension.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of council at the BMA, said: “We are taking this step very reluctantly, and would far prefer to negotiate for a fairer solution.

“But 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.”

9 comments

  • doctors get £250,000 a year don't they?sorry if this is inaccurate. they are only a gateway to specialist hospital treatment half the time.and only work 5 days and stop at 5pm.

    Report this comment

    bookworm

    Thursday, May 31, 2012

  • good to see doctoes have priorities right and will strike over their pensions but not state of NHS, what makes the doctors think they are so special that they are immune from the problems with the economy, if they are not happy go get a job in spain or greece, their pensions are amongst the most generous in the uk

    Report this comment

    blister

    Thursday, May 31, 2012

  • over the years I have noticed that GPs now seem to be just a point at which you are refered on to a specialist and that they often know less than I do about a condition this coupled with being put on the wrong blood pressure tablets for 10 years which when registering with new GP was told that I should come off them immediatly and that I did'nt need them has left me with little faith in them

    Report this comment

    blister

    Thursday, May 31, 2012

  • Not so sure about that idea Blister. Practice nurses do basic stuff like taking blood, changing dressings etc so that GPs can provide the more advanced services that the public demand. Also, many GPs provide services to local hospitals in addition to their usual workload because the hospitals have problems retaining staff. Its very easy for the public to moan about the "failing NHS" but we should ask ourselves WHY the NHS is failing - if indeed it really is. We demand more and more and expect to pay less and less. We expect hospitals to provide things just short of miracles and then complain if we have to wait for a free ambulance to take us home. We expect the NHS to have no staff costs but still have zillions of nurses. We cant have all ways Im afraid. If we are not careful this Government will destroy the NHS as we know it and then those who moan will REALLY have something to complain about. USA? Want to see a doctor? Err, get your wallet out.... Its about time we started to support our NHS and that includes paying staff properly. Its funny how a person who might one day save our childs life is berated for wanting a decent salary and yet someone who kicks a ball around for 90 mins a week and the rest of the time behaves like a yobbo never has a word said about their inflated wages.....

    Report this comment

    Babelfish

    Thursday, May 31, 2012

  • Its all very well Dan Poulter spouting off about Doctors going on strike and playing the martyr by refusing to strike BUT he is also an MP so his pension is gold plated... Oh, and doctors dont get £250K per year....well, certainly not doctors in hospitals...

    Report this comment

    Babelfish

    Thursday, May 31, 2012

  • now that practice nurses seem to do much of the work GPs used to do and very few GPs do emergency cover perphaps we could do without GPs and employ more practice nurses and specialists

    Report this comment

    blister

    Thursday, May 31, 2012

  • good to see doctoes have priorities right and will strike over their pensions but not state of NHS, what makes the doctors think they are so special that they are immune from the problems with the economy, if they are not happy go get a job in spain or greece, their pensions are amongst the most generous in the uk

    Report this comment

    blister

    Thursday, May 31, 2012

  • You may not have noticed it but it is not just doctors who are unhappy,the police,the teachers,the civil servants,the immigration service workers,the tax collectors and indeed the barristers, to name but a few,have a trade dispute which requires resolution.The Government keep getting it wrong.They seem totally arrogant and out-of-touch.

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Thursday, May 31, 2012

  • 5 years ago after 10 years of a labour government I spent time in the N and N with broken leg my first night was spent in a mixed sex ward next to a 90 yr old woman who spent most of the night on a potty, then a day later had a plaster caste that was meant to be on my leg for months was mistakingly removed, this showed that after all those years of labour government they still could'nt cure the problems of the NHS in fact many things got worse during their period in power

    Report this comment

    blister

    Thursday, May 31, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Norfolk Weather

Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 26°C

min temp: 18°C

Five-day forecast

loading...

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT