Thursday, 30 June 2011


As you may have noticed from those children unexpectedly under your feet there is a public sector strike today, protesting about pension reform. Doctors are one of the few groups of public sector employees not involved, although the issue is highly relevant to us, and we should be watching closely to see how this issue resolves.

No group contemplating industrial action can ignore public opinion. Any strikers who do not have strong public support are doomed to fail no matter what their cause as governments know that they will gain kudos from standing up to them. So does the public sector have public sympathy? NO they fucking don’t! It would be astounding if they did. What they are striking for is to retain a huge discrepancy in pension arrangements between the public and private sectors. A discrepancy regarded with some justification as grossly unfair. (1) (2) (3)

Doctors are very well paid public sector employees. Our representatives, the BMA, should be taking on board the obvious lack of sympathy shown by the public towards this issue, and perhaps keeping their heads well down. But are they?  No, not only are the BMA also making threats over the same issue, that fool Porter is still stamping his foot over CEAs.

Let’s just see what that means in raw numbers. If the government were to acquiesce on the issues of pensions and CEAs then that would result in a possible pension for a consultant retiring at 60, with just a bronze award, of about £65,000pa. And let’s not forget the lump sum, tax free.

In the current climate these sorts of pensions can not be considered fair or sustainable. The BMA should wind it’s neck in and accept that we too have to take some share of the financial pain, rather than being considered special and protected. Because stamping their foot over these issues is just going to earn us a reputation as greedy selfish bastards. With no small justification.


  1. This rat left that sinking ship (NHS pensions) long ago.....

  2. Excellent post Dr Zorro and have linked to it.

    Anna :o]

  3. I don't know, Dr Z. I see it a bit differently.

    If I work until I am sixty-FIVE (the normal retirement age in Univs), with my current pay level or equivalent (unlikely to change as I am never getting promoted, barring hell freezing over), then I would retire on the princely sum of £ 23,000 pa. It doesn't feel like it would be a walloping great amount for forty years on the faculty in one of the UK's better known Universities, teaching many successive generations of medical and science students.

    While I can see the problem, and NHS consultants obviously earn a lot more than I do, I have my doubts about the basic argument that the public sector should get shafted on pensions because the private sector employees have already been shafted before them.

    I have more sympathy with the argument that, as life expectancy increases, it is unrealistic to expect to retire at 65, let alone 60. I would like to think that the Govt and the unions could reach some kind of compromise on the basis of retaining defined benefits, but with phased increase in contributions and some agreed increase in the age of retirement.