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Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has said that today's doctors' strike is pointless because GPs already receive a good pension scheme.
Mr Lansley told Daybreak that industrial action will serve no purpose and that the British Medical Association (BMA) is out on its own.
Doctors are taking industrial action for the first time in 37 years today. Health Minister Simon Burns has criticised the move, saying that patients are set to miss out.
Doctors have taken industrial action for the first time in almost 40 years. But what are the arguments for and against pension reforms?
- The British Medical Association (BMA) announced they were going on strike last month after it accused ministers of pressing ahead with "totally unjustified" increases to pension contributions and a later retirement age for doctors even though a deal on pensions was agreed four years ago.
- 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.
The planned doctors' strike action could see up to 30,000 operations cancelled, 58,000 diagnostic tests postponed and 200,000 outpatient appointments rescheduled.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said that Up to 1.25 million GP appointments will be pushed into the days and weeks following the action.
Local NHS managers have urged patients to use services only if there is an urgent need.
The BMA has more than 100,000 members, all of whom could take part in the action.
However, early polls suggest as few as 22% of doctors will be participating.
According to the Daily Mail, pension contributions for doctors cost the taxpayer £67billion.
Andrew Lansley has revealed that the public were funding 80 per cent of doctors’ pensions, and the total cost of the pension pot of all working and retired doctors is a massive £83billion.
The news came as patients who fall ill today were urged to seek advice on the internet or ring an NHS helpline instead of trying to see a doctor.
Doctors are taking industrial action for the first time in 37 years today, despite last-ditch attempts from ministers to dissuade them.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley pleaded with doctors not to take part in the day of action which is being held in protest over the Government's controversial pension reforms.
Support for today's doctors' strike was crumbling last night after a public backlash caused many who voted for action to have second thoughts.
A survey by The Daily Telegraph found that two thirds of GP surgeries expected to have all their doctors working today and would be open for business as usual.
According to the Independent's daily title i, support for today's strike by doctors appeared to be seeping away last night, as ministers escalated their attacks on medics' pension costs and most NHS bodies said the disruption was likely to be minimal.
Latest ITV News reports
Just 8% of doctors working in the NHS in England went on strike, according to the Government. More than 20,000 patients were affected.
Doctors are taking industrial action for the first time in almost 40 years but what are the arguments for and against pension reforms?