The NHS pension scheme has produced a surplus for the Treasury, the British Medical Association (BMA) has pointed out, in response to the government’s public sector pensions review.
The health service scheme is paid for by staff and employers, and not the taxpayer, said Dr Andrew Dearden, who chairs the BMA pensions committee. He added that the scheme has already been subject to a cost-saving review a couple of years ago.
But John Hutton, the former work and pensions secretary, is heading a review of pensions paid to public sector workers, following deputy prime minister Nick Clegg’s claim that many schemes are “unfair” and unsustainable.
Dr Dearden said NHS staff pensions “are by no means a drain on the taxpayer”, adding: “They represent a fair deal for staff and value for money for the public. We understand the need to keep the NHS scheme fair and sustainable in the long term, which is why we accepted the major changes recommended by the review in 2008.”
Changes made to NHS pension schemes in 2008 saw the normal pension age for new staff raised to 65 from 60. Contributions by employers were limited but doctors’ contributions increased by as much as 2.5%. GPs in the scheme pay 14% in employer contributions.
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