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Is there much public sympathy for doctors' pension dispute?

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suze
913032.  Thu May 31, 2012 12:45 pm Reply with quote

Because if it isn't, I'm liable to leave and go and teach in an independent school instead. Her doctor is liable to leave and go and work in private practice.

If her child is being taught in a class of 60 because the school couldn't hire any English teachers, or if her child's English teacher is Bulgarian and has never heard of Shakespeare, I'm sure she'll be complaining about it.

If her doctor can't see her for six months because he has too many other patients on his list, or if she calls for a paramedic but he turns out not to know the difference between angina and vagina, I'm sure she'll be complaining about that.

 
Spud McLaren
913036.  Thu May 31, 2012 12:55 pm Reply with quote

Indeed. Remember the answer to the squeal about top executives' pay - "If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys"? Well...

 
barbados
913041.  Thu May 31, 2012 1:06 pm Reply with quote

And in your independant school, what do you do in the winter when her employer has to bump the prices up so high to pay her wages so that she can afford to pay for the independent and private healthcare?

You see, no one person is more important than another in a society, they all have their part to play and as soon as you take one of the teeth out of the cog things start falling apart.

As one of those woolly lefty sorts I would have been a little more considerate ;)

But in all seriousness for me there isn't even anything worth considering, I really don't think it is fair for me to contribute to someone else's pension fund, so I wouldn't think to ask someone else - who already does contribute, to contribute more. So I have to contribute more to my pension, if I want to have a worthy fund then so be it. If I have to work till I'm 68 - I don't like it but I can't afford otherwise, so be it.

 
suze
913046.  Thu May 31, 2012 1:26 pm Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
As one of those woolly lefty sorts I would have been a little more considerate ;)


And actually, I would; there was a certain amount of advocatus diaboli to my last post.

I don't consider myself woefully badly paid; after all, I voted against strike action and will do so again should there be another ballot.

Neither do I consider myself especially well paid; I certainly don't rule out that my next job will be in an independent school. I could probably earn about 8,000 more in an independent school, and in almost all of them I'd get free lunches as well. (What's more, the pension scheme is the same one. This is a special concession; a doctor working solely for BUPA cannot be in the NHS scheme, but teachers in independent schools can be in the Teachers Pension Scheme.)

 
Sparkyweasel
913081.  Thu May 31, 2012 8:07 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
or if her child's English teacher is Bulgarian and has never heard of Shakespeare, I'm sure she'll be complaining about it.


As an English boy, in an English school, I had an English teacher (or 'teacher of English' perhaps) who was German. He was very good, although he had heard of Shakespeare. :)

My teacher of German was English, and useless.

 
djgordy
913093.  Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:47 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
in almost all of them I'd get free lunches as well.


So there is such a thing as a free lunch.

suze wrote:
turns out not to know the difference between angina and vagina,


That can be embarassing. I told my ex-girlf I wanted to have sex with her. She said "not now, I've got acute angina. I said "why do you think I want to have sex with you?".

 
Neotenic
913101.  Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:49 am Reply with quote

I can't help but be distinctly uncomfortable with a profession where the average pension paid out at the end of their careers is broadly double the average salary going out on any form of strike to protect their interests.

Especially when those pensions are provided by an unfunded scheme. Sure, there is currently some surplus cash kicking about - just under 2 billion was paid across last year - but to pick that single figure out of the accounts is duplicitous at best.

If nothing else, the current liabilities of the scheme are greater than 250 billion, so any short-term cash surpluses a miniscule compared to that.

Not only that, but with the demographic profile shifting towards older people living longers (four years have been added to the life expectency of male members aged sixty in the last five years according to the actuarial notes), it's clear those surpluses really aren't going to last very long.

Of course, the ironic thing is that in attempting to deal with the obvious potential for massive future problems in the doctors pension schemes now, we are looking at prevention rather than cure. I would have thought, given how much time they spend hectoring people to stop drinking, smoking or eating bacon sandwiches before they have a heart attack, doctors would be quite keen on this approach.

The other feeling I just can't shake is that unfunded pension schemes in general are, effectively, gigantic ponzi schemes that only continue to function because they are underwritten by the state. This strikes me as a thoroughly bananas way to provide for our futures.

 
barbados
913102.  Fri Jun 01, 2012 4:17 am Reply with quote

I have to say that anyone who promotes bacon abstention is wrong by default.

Bacon is up there with Red Bull, WD40, Gaffer Tape, and Blue Tarpaulins.

Without those the world will fall apart (in fact I've heard that Greece recently banned WD40, and that is the reason for the financial meltdown (that may or may not be true))

 
PDR
913173.  Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:19 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:

What do you do when the remuneration package offered by the NHS is such that only the rubbish doctors want to work there? Who suffers when the remuneration package offered to teachers is such that only the rubbish teachers want to work in state schools?


There are lots of assumptions in that. Firstly it assumes that there are sufficient jobs in private schools and sufficient business for extra private doctors to make it possible for these moves out of the state sector to be feasible. As far as I can see this simply isn't the case - the British public generally won't/can't pay for fee-paying schooling for their offspring and only a VERY small proportion of them would gladly pay for medical services - it's a cultural anathema toi the vast majority.

Secondly it presupposes that the pensions offered in either case would be better that the terms being offered (or "demanded" if you prefer) by the NHS/DES schemes. From what I have seen that definitely is NOT the case because few private schools offer final salary pensions [except as below] and most non-NHS doctors are self-employed (no FS pension). The point that both doctors and teachers refuse to acknowledge being [to repeat myself] that the pension terms they are being offered simply bring them into line with the very best of the pensions available in the private sector.

But then we get to this really amazing piece of circular logic. I may print this and frame it:

Quote:

Neither do I consider myself especially well paid; I certainly don't rule out that my next job will be in an independent school. I could probably earn about 8,000 more in an independent school, and in almost all of them I'd get free lunches as well. (What's more, the pension scheme is the same one. This is a special concession; a doctor working solely for BUPA cannot be in the NHS scheme, but teachers in independent schools can be in the Teachers Pension Scheme.)


So let me get this straight. You would quite your job in a state school because of the crap pension, seek a job in a private school and cite one of the advantages of this as being the ability to stay in the same crap pension scheme which cause you to quit the previous job?

Am I missing something here?

PDR

 
djgordy
913179.  Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:57 am Reply with quote

Yes, you're missing the bit about earning another 8k per year and getting a free lunch.

 
PDR
913194.  Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:20 am Reply with quote

That might explain a desire to move, but does not explain why this desire will now suddenly become irresistable as a result of the changes to pension conditions.

PDR

 
Spud McLaren
913253.  Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:46 am Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
That might explain a desire to move, but does not explain why this desire will now suddenly become irresistable as a result of the changes to pension conditions.
I think it does, though. If, as suze points out, pensions are deferred salary, then an attack on pensions is an attack on salary. If that's the case, and you aren't going to get a better pension deal anywhere else, then you might as well have the salary that would have been deferred, now. Since that isn't going to be forthcoming from the public sector, it makes a move to the private sector more attractive.

 
suze
913272.  Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:18 am Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
As far as I can see this simply isn't the case - the British public generally won't/can't pay for fee-paying schooling for their offspring.


Nationwide, 7% of children go to independent schools. It varies hugely as you travel the country though; in Surrey it's 23%, and in some of the Metropolitan Boroughs it's less than 1%.

There are all sorts of reasons why parents choose independent schools for their children, but one of the most common is that the parents consider the available state schools not to be good enough. When your children are being taught in classes of 60 by teachers who can't really speak English, might you start to come to that conclusion too?

PDR wrote:
And only a VERY small proportion of them would gladly pay for medical services - it's a cultural anathema to the vast majority.


As regards GP-type treatment, you're basically right. Not as regards dentistry though - as of 2009, 29% of dental treatment carried out in the UK was private. You may say that dentists are somehow different; I don't really see why they should be, but in any case let's move back to non-dental healthcare.

If you were unfortunate enough to suffer a minor injury - say, you cut yourself and needed a few stitches - you'd take yourself off to A&E. But if there was a sign at the door saying "Estimated waiting time: 18 hours", might you not then toddle off to the private clinic next door which would sew you up now for 200?


If we don't want these Doomsday scenarios to happen, we need to incentivize teachers and doctors to stay in the public sector. And pension provision has hitherto been a large part of the way that we do that.


PDR wrote:
You would quite your job in a state school because of the crap pension, seek a job in a private school and cite one of the advantages of this as being the ability to stay in the same crap pension scheme which cause you to quit the previous job?


As others have noted, there's the small matter of the additional salary and the free lunches. And the fact that there are very few disruptive pupils, because independent schools simply kick them out.

Furthermore, while it is indeed the same pension scheme, the rules are not necessarily the same. The TPS tells the independent school what contributions (as a % of salary) it needs to receive from it, but it is for the school to decide how to split that between employer and employee. Practically no independent school asks for a greater employee contribution than do state schools, at some it's the same, but at most it's less (zero, at many of the big name public schools - the employer pays the lot).

 
barbados
913282.  Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:17 pm Reply with quote

The one issue with "the private clinic next door" and that is it would be a commercial concern, with the main aim of making money.

It's unlikely that the clinic would be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You might find that of a Monday afternoon there isn't much call for a specialist to stitch you up. That would mean that service is not available.

Another thing with A&E Depts - Hospitals use them as loss leaders, there is no payment to a hospital from the PCT for a walk up A&E visit - they only get paid for referals so a hospital would be quite happy for some with a paper cut to pop off to the private clinic to get stitched.

If the leg was hanging off, that's a differant story altogether

 
suze
913360.  Fri Jun 01, 2012 5:23 pm Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
The one issue with "the private clinic next door" and that is it would be a commercial concern, with the main aim of making money.

It's unlikely that the clinic would be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You might find that of a Monday afternoon there isn't much call for a specialist to stitch you up. That would mean that service is not available.


Which is exactly why we need to have the NHS, and the NHS needs to be able to recruit the staff that it needs to sew up cut fingers and perform more extensive treatment upon hanging off legs.

And the pension scheme is one of the best recruitment carrots that the NHS has to dangle. Private concerns cannot or will not compete with that, while they absolutely can and do compete on take home pay. Make the NHS pension scheme less attractive, and you just made it a whole lot harder to hire the people who can reattach hanging off legs.

 

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