Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has rejected the BMA’s call for further pension talks, disregarding the union’s poll as an “informal survey”.
In a letter to BMA Council Chair Dr Hamish Meldrum, Lansley said December’s pension offer was the “best possible deal available”.
While he is open to meeting with Dr Meldrum to “discuss issues”, he said he would not re-open pension negotiations.
“I have the interests of the NHS at heart. I want NHS staff to be supported and properly rewarded,” said Lansley.
“The major enhancements to the pensions scheme on offer during our discussions, which enabled us to reach the Heads of Agreement, reflected this.
“The NHS pension scheme will be amongst the best available anywhere.”
Lansley also said there was “no justification” for the BMA to start work on plans for strike action.
“No concessions will be won through the threat or use of industrial action,” he warned.
“Nor will the public accept, nor understand, how you can sign up to an excellent deal and then walk away from it on the strength of an informal survey to which less than 36% of all your members responded.”
The BMA’s UK-wide survey of over 46,000 doctors on the government’s NHS pension reform found 63% members said they would personally be prepared to take industrial action to “pursue changes to the pension proposals”.
Yesterday’s (18 January) BMA Council meeting resulted in an outright rejection of the government’s pension offer and has kick-started work on “detailed” strike plans.
Would you strike over pensions? Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
“Costs have spiralled in all aspects of life and more so for individuals to have in retirements a satisfactory standard of living. Costs have to be ‘rained in’ just how one does this I am not in any position to comment on individual reasons for strike action except to say that strike action is not the way forward in the interests and delivery of patient care” – V Henry, London
“Yes, it is a disgrace that the government response to the healthcare worker is too short and appalling. I have been working for 12 year with no respite with the aim of in many years to be able to enjoy my pension. I have been working for it (unlike the state pension that you do not need anything but be older than 65)” – Teresa Uscategi, East of England