1. ITV Report

Why are doctors taking industrial action?

A NHS sign is seen in front of the Houses of Parliament in London. Photo: Reuters

Doctors are taking industrial action for the first time in almost 40 years but what are the arguments for and against pension reforms?

  • The British Medical Association argues that under Government plans the contribution taken from NHS employees' pay for their pensions increased in April 2012 and this is set to go up again in 2013 and 2014.
  • The highest earners are set to contribute 14.5% of their pay by 2014, compared with 8.5% in March 2012, the BMA said.
  • They say that in 2015 the final salary scheme will be scrapped,and replaced by a new career average revalued earnings (CARE), resulting inaround a 30% reduction in value on a like-to-like basis. It added that GPs currently have a CARE scheme but they will see their contributions rise significantly.
  • Under the proposals, NHS staff will be required to work until the state pension age (set to rise to 68) until they can draw a full pension, the BMA said.
  • It said higher paid NHS staff already pay proportionally more for their pensions than most other public sector workers.
  • The Department of Health argues that the reforms "still provided an excellent pension". It said the current NHS pension scheme provides the average full time consultant retiring at 60 with a pension of over £43,000 a year for life and a tax free lump sum of around £135,000.
  • It added that a newly qualified doctor joining the reformed scheme after 2015 could expect a pension of over £53,000 at age 65 (the normal pension age for new joiners) or a pension of around £68,000 a year at his state pensionage of 68.

Dr Daniel Poulter, Conservative MP and hospital doctor, and Dr Laurence Buckman, Chairman of the BMA GP Committee, tell ITV1's Daybreak why they are for and against the industrial action.