The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has responded with fury to John Hutton's report on public sector pensions, published today.

Jon Skewes, Director of Employment Relations and Development at the RCM, said: "The RCM believes that its members will be appalled by this government's attack on their hard-earned pensions.

"On top of pay freezes, cuts to services and threats to the NHS itself, this will be seen as slap in the face for hard-pressed midwives and maternity support workers. They will react with anger and dismay and many may vote with their feet and leave the NHS.

"This will only serve to exacerbate the current and critical shortage of midwives and have a negative effect on the care women and babies receive.

"The NHS pension scheme, renegotiated only recently produces surpluses for the Treasury of £2 billion per year, and yet it is to be devalued. I call on the government to think through this process and its implications very carefully, because they do not appear to have done this so far."

The NHS scheme has recently been reformed through negotiation with the RCM and other health unions in order to ensure it is affordable. It has raised the normal pension age from 60 to 65 as a response to increasing longevity, established cap and share arrangements, as well as introducing tiered contributions so that those on higher salaries contribute more.

The average NHS pension is just £7,000 a year, with over half of women getting less than £3,500 a year.

Posted by Penny Hosie on 10.3.11 Comment on this article by sending it to: penny.hosie@pavpub.com