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NHS pension strike—we are preparing to make a stand

15 Jun, 12 | by BMJ

We are planning to take industrial action at our GP surgery. We’re unanimous about the blatant inequity being thrust down our throats by Mr Lansley and the anger we feel is palpable. We weren’t completely in agreement about what we’d be prepared to do about it—but when the date was announced, we realised that the two doctors who were less sure about what they wanted to do would be absent anyway on 21st June—and as long as we kept our patients safe, they didn’t stand in the way of the rest of the team taking action. In fact deep down they know it’s the right thing to do. On the day it has to be all for one and one for all—and so it will be. more…

Peter Bailey: Striking for a duck island

6 Jun, 12 | by BMJ

A few days ago I was asked by a local radio station to give an opinion about the strike action being planned by the medical profession over pensions.  I told them that in view of the fact that I was already retired and drawing my pension, I was perhaps hors de combat and should leave it those still in post to comment.

However, as each day has gone by, everything I see in the press or on television, or hear on the radio has contributed to my belief that the profession is misguided. When I heard the BMA’s council chairman Hamish Meldrum on the Today programme lamely trying to defend the strike, and I listened to my colleagues, friends, and family expressing their disbelief, I felt a rise in my bile and picked up my pen. more…

Edward Davies: Call for the spin doctor—this pension strike will need the mother of all PR campaigns

31 May, 12 | by BMJ

Edward Davies

This strike is not going down well. Or to quote the Daily Telegraph, this “unseemly spectacle” is not going down well. And it’s not just the Telegraph. “There is no gold left and the doctors need to recognise that this applies to them,” says The Times. “Doctors should be ashamed of themselves,” says the Independent. “It’s enough to make you feel ill,” says the Sun. And even the most pro-union and anti-government Daily Mirror is not happy: “Doctors must resist this midsummer madness.” more…

Rhys Davies: 21 June—is there a medical student in the house?

31 May, 12 | by BMJ

Yesterday, the BMA announced the results of its members’ ballot on industrial action. Tens of thousands of doctors across different branches of medicine responded, coming out strongly in favour of industrial action. With a mandate to move forward, the BMA have scheduled a day of industrial action on 21 June.

Doctors will perform only urgent and emergency work, with numerous medical leaders stressing that patients’ safety will not be compromised. The threat to patients’ safety on that day is no greater than the threat posed by the Jubilee bank holiday. However, the real battle between now and 21 June will be convincing the public that this action is justified and that doctors are not just self interested, and money grabbing. With opinion pieces springing up in the Daily Mail and other newspapers before the ink had dried on the BMA’s press release, the opening shots of that battle have already been fired. more…

Helen Jaques: NHS pensions: the saga continues

21 Dec, 11 | by BMJ Group

One story has dominated my first year as news reporter for BMJ Careers: pensions. And what a compelling story it has been. 

The issue kicked off way back in March this year when Lord Hutton set out a raft of changes to public sector pensions, which included ending final salary schemes in favour of career average schemes, increasing the normal retirement age in line with stage pension age (due to creep up to 68 in the next 35 years), and increasing the amount employees pay into their pensions. Come summer the government gave the green light to Lord Hutton’s proposals and set out the details of the contribution increases for 2012-13. It has however remained tight lipped on increases planned for 2013-14 and 2014-15, which could bring the total increase in contributions up to 3.2 percentage points for high earners such as doctors. These suggestions were met with fury from the BMA, which said that doctors were being asked to pay more and work longer for a worse pension. It has also pointed out that the NHS scheme has already undergone an overhaul in 2008 and is filling the treasury’s coffers to the tune of £10.7 billion over the next five years rather than depleting stocks. more…

David Payne: Jeremy Clarkson and public sector strikers

2 Dec, 11 | by BMJ Group

David Payne The eurozone is in crisis, Britain’s embassy has been stormed in Iran, youth unemployment is above a million, and the US Republicans are struggling to field a presidential candidate whose grasp of foreign policy extends beyond being able to see Russia from their back garden. So guess what the top question was on BBC Question Time last night? What should happen to Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson after he called for striking public sector workers to be shot in front of their families? more…

Edward Davies: Cuts, pensions, and perspective

30 Nov, 11 | by BMJ Group

Edward DaviesWalking to the NHS Alliance’s annual conference through Manchester this morning, the streets were peppered with small pickets. University staff, civil servants, transport workers, all sorts of folk objecting to public sector cuts in general and in particular to their potentially diminished pensions.

One chap thrust a leaflet at me deploring the effect that cuts would have on his university’s provision and told me of the need to “fight for our lives.” more…

Edward Davies: Sex scandal

29 Jul, 11 | by BMJ Group

Edward Davies Sex and pensions do not comfortable bedfellows make, but I feel I must write something about this. While most of the current talk on UK pensions is about increased contributions and longer working lives, there is an actual scandal passing by barely reported.While I’m not a central pillar in the UK’s feminist movement I am afraid of my wife, take a passing interest in her welfare and am forced to accept that equality between the sexes is probably, ultimately, at the end of the day, when all is said and done, not an outright evil. more…

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