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Doctors' strike won't hit services
GP surgeries in Worcestershire will be open during controversial strike action across the country but some will be providing emergency care only.
NHS Worcestershire leaders are not anticipating any major disruption to local NHS services, including GP surgeries, during the British Medical Association (BMA) industrial action over pensions on Thursday.
However, 16 out of 66 practices in Worcestershire will be providing emergency and urgent appointments only. NHS bosses say this is not in breach of their contract so doctors will not have their pay docked. They did not list the surgeries affected.
Some GPs, who can earn £120,000 a year, have been criticised nationally for taking action over pensions when most people in the private sector have no pension scheme at all.
A typical doctor earning £106,360 a year can expect to retire at 60 on an annual pension of £43,000 a year for life with a £135,000 lump sum. On the existing scheme an average full-time consultant retiring at 60 will receive a pension of more than £43,000 a year for life and a tax-free lump sum of about £135,000 which equates to a pension pot of nearly £2 million in the private sector.
Under the new scheme, for the same pension and lump sum an average 40-year-old consultant would only need to work an extra two and a half years and a 24-year-old doctor starting out on their medical career would build up the same amount at the age of 66. Under the new scheme a doctor joining the new scheme after 2015 can expect a pension of more than £53,000 at age 65 (the normal pension age for new joiners at the moment) or a pension of about £68,000 a year at his state pension age of 68.
This equates to a pension pot of nearly £1.5 million in the private sector.
Leaders at NHS Worcestershire are not expecting any closures and patients will still be able to access their GP surgery for urgent advice, although for some services they may only accept pre-booked, urgent or emergency appointments.
Unless specifically informed by hospitals or other services then patients with outpatient appointments should attend their appointment as usual.
Dr Jonathan Leach, a local GP and medical director for NHS Worcestershire, said: “We would like to reassure people that following discussions with the local GP surgeries we are not expecting any closures on Thursday.
“There will be a small minority of practices that will only be providing emergency and urgent appointments but members of the public should contact their local GP surgeries as usual if they need help from their GP. All other staff at the practices will be operating as normal.”
Doctors represented by the BMA will take industrial action on Thursday for the first time in almost 40 years in protest at the Government’s controversial pension reforms.Almost three-quarters of GP practices will reportedly open as normal on Thursday when doctors take industrial action for the first time in almost 40 years.
Across 20 primary care organisations, 281 out of 1,265 practices have so far notified NHS managers they are taking action. Up to 100,000 doctors who are members of the BMA could be on strike in protest at the Government's pension reforms.
According to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, the planned strike could see up to 30,000 operations cancelled, 58,000 diagnostic tests postponed and 200,000 outpatient appointments rescheduled.
Mr Lansley also said up to 1.25 million GP appointments would be pushed into the days and weeks following the action.
The BMA announced the 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.