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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 June, 2005, 17:50 GMT 18:50 UK
Medics pension plan action threat
By Nick Triggle
BBC News health reporter in Manchester

Surgeons operating
Doctors want to retain current pension arrangements
Doctors warn they may consider industrial action if the government goes ahead with plans to overhaul NHS pensions.

Delegates at the British Medical Association conference expressed anger at the plan to increase the normal pension age from 60 to 65.

They pledged to fight to keep a final salary pension scheme, rather than have one linked to career average earnings.

Doctors voted to ballot for industrial action if ministers pressed ahead.

Changing goal-posts

Dr Andrew Dearden, chairman of the BMA pensions committee, said there were positive proposals within the NHS pension review, but the more controversial plans had "stirred up a hornet's nest of anger and dissatisfaction".

There may very well be a need to consider taking action in the future
Dr Andrew Dearden, BMA pensions committee

He added: "For the moment, it would not have been appropriate to take any industrial action as we were being asked what we thought about some options, not firm proposals."

But Dr Dearden added: "If the government does not take any notice of what we feel, and told them we feel, about their proposed options then there may very well be a need to consider taking action in the future, and many of you have told us that you are prepared for this and will take it."

Under the proposals a consultant finishing their career on pay of 126,400 would take home a pension of 63,000 a year - down from 86,400 a year at the moment.

GPs already operate under a career average pension system.

The plans still allow doctors to retire at 60, but their pension would be less.

James Johnson, chairman of the BMA, said there was a strong feeling among doctors on pensions that "a deal is a deal".

"They feel that you can't change the goal posts now."

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