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Wednesday 28 September 2016
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BMA appeals to Treasury for fresh pension talks

The British Medical Association (BMA) has requested an urgent meeting with government ministers to kick-start fresh talks on NHS pensions.

In a letter to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, Hamish Meldrum, Chairman of Council at the BMA, has highlighted the "unfairness" of some NHS staff having to pay twice as much for the same pensions as some other public sector workers on similar salaries. 

The letter quotes the Public Accounts Committee's warning that the government's proposals "could destabilise the largest public sector pension scheme, increasing the burden on the state, and creating problems with retention of senior staff." 

He urged Alexander to work with the BMA and the other health unions to "achieve a fair and amicable settlement on the future of the NHS pension scheme". 

The plea for further negotiations comes after 84% of 46,000 BMA members polled rejected the government latest pension deal, with two-thirds reporting they would be willing to strike if no improvement to the offer is made.

"We're pursuing every avenue we can to get the government back to the table," said Meldrum. 

"Lines of communication are open, but we'd like to see more willingness to find a way towards a fair solution. 

"NHS staff are being told that the deal they signed up to only four years ago is meaningless and hey have to work until they are almost 70 before they can draw a full pension." 

The BMA has turned to Alexander after Health Secretary Andrew Lansley dismissed the union's poll as an "informal survey" and said he would not re-open pension negotiations.

Meanwhile, an e-petition, submitted by Dr Alan Robertson, Chairman of the BMA's Pensions Committee, calling on the government to resume talks with the health unions has received over 17,000 signatures in under a week.

Members of the BMA Council will meet on 25 February to consider balloting doctors on industrial action, should there not be a significant change in the government's position.