DoH bows to High Court ruling on GP pensions

Retired GPs could receive an extra £5,000 a year in their pensions, as DoH forced to backtrack on dynamisation.

Recently retired GPs are set to receive a substantial boost in their pensions, after the DoH accepted last month's High Court ruling.

The court ruled that then-health secretary Patricia Hewitt overstepped her legal powers in 2006 when she retrospectively capped the 'dynamising factor' used to bring pensions up to present-day values. The DoH had until 10 April to lodge an appeal against the ruling.

A DoH spokeswoman said they had been 'surprised and disappointed by the [ruling] against our plans for containing the growth in GP pensions at a reasonable level'.

She declined to explain why the DoH would not appeal.

Dr Eric Rose, a GPC member who drew his pension in 2006, said: 'The judgment was pretty scathing. It was clear the judge thought the government hadn't given any legal reason (for capping GP pensions).'

It will be several months before the full effect is known, because the dynamising factor for 2005/6 has yet to be calculated from practice profits. But analysts predict dynamisation for 2003/6 could be as high as 58 per cent, well above the government's 30 per cent cap.

GPs who retired since 2006 could receive pension increases of more than £5,000 a year. They would also receive a lump sum of five times this figure to cover two years of under-payments and the shortfall in the amount paid out on retirement.

The DoH spokeswoman said they would now consult on 'a more appropriate mechanism for uprating GP pensions for 2006/8 that will be fairer to all members of the NHS Pension Scheme and to taxpayers'.

Dr Laurence Buckman, GPC chairman, said he was 'very pleased that those who had money taken from their pension illegally will now get it back'.

jonn.elledge@haymarket.com

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