The High Court has found against the British Medical Assoc...
Doctors lose pension battle in High Court
The High Court has found against the British Medical Association's (BMA) judicial review of NHS pension scheme rules, which mean widowers of female staff don't get the same rights as the widows of male staff.
Under the current rules, service accrued by female NHS workers before April 6 1988 doesn't count towards the pension entitlements of their widowers. Widows' pensions however are based on the full contributions made by their husbands.
The difference is because it wasn't until 1989 that a non-dependent widowers' pension was brought in.
The BMA's legal team brought the case on behalf of Iain Cockburn, the widower of Dr Clare Cockburn, who joined the NHS pensions scheme in 1982, as we reported last week.
When she died in 2007, Mr Cockburn got a pension but his legal team say that a woman in the same position would have got an extra £3,200 a year. His counsel claimed this was unlawful gender discrimination.
But according to trade newspaper Financial Adviser, the judgment handed down by Justice Supperstone at the Royal Courts of Justice said there was an "objective and reasonable justification" when the change was made.
It has been estimated that had Mr Cockburn succeeded, it could have cost the Department of Health £1 billion. The BMA is considering an application for permission to appeal.
Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of council at the BMA, said: "It's unfair that female members of the NHS pension scheme do not have the same rights as men.
"We're disappointed that this sexual discrimination couldn't be stopped in the High Court, but we will continue to highlight it and to fight for fair pensions for all doctors."