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The CSP is encouraging members who wish to respond to the consultation on proposed changes to the NHS pension scheme to do so in the near future.

The consultation currently running in England and Wales ends on 30 November. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, consultation starts at the beginning of October and runs through to the beginning of January 2007. Information on the proposed changes will be sent out to NHS workers in their September payslips in England and Wales, and in October in Scotland and Northern Ireland. For existing scheme members, the current final salary structure remains, with an accrual rate of 1/80 for each year of service, and 3/80 lump sum based on the best of the last three years’ pensionable pay; the normal pension age stays at 60 (or 55 for special classes such as eligible physiotherapists); and there is an increase of 0.5 per cent in the contribution rate for the majority of scheme members and a decrease of 1 per cent for some, including physiotherapy assistants, who will see their contributions decrease from 6 to 5 per cent. There will also be the ability to choose to take a larger tax free lump sum of up to 25% of pension value at retirement, in return for giving up some pension; and the introduction of survivor pensions for eligible unmarried partners (including same sex partners) for all future service, backdated to 1988. For new entrants to the scheme, the contribution rates will be the same as for existing members; the normal pension age will be 65; there will be an accrual rate of 1/60 for each year of service; the pension will be calculated on the basis of the average of the three best consecutive years; there will the choice to take a lump sum by converting up to 25% of pension value into a tax free lump sum; and survivor pensions for eligible partners. FURTHER INFORMATION The consultation document, and a member briefing on the proposals, is on the CSP website at  www.csp.org.uk Members views on the package as a whole, which will be used to inform the CSP’s response, should be submitted by 17 November on pensions@csp.org.uk or to Janice Collins at CSP, 14 Bedford Row, London WC1R 4ED.

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