Accountants estimate pensions cap costs GPs £10,000 a year

GPs who worked beyond the age of 60 to benefit from higher pay under the new GMS contract will lose £10,000 a year from pensions because of a cap imposed by the DoH, according to accountants

They will also lose three times this amount from the lump sum owed to them on retirement.

A GPC legal challenge is expected, but as things stand some GPs fear they may not live long enough to benefit from having remained in work.

Under the new GMS contract GP pensions are dynamised, or uplifted, annually by an amount equal to average profit growth in general practice.

The combined dynamisation factor due over the first three years of the contract – 2003/4 to 2005/6 – is estimated at 48 per cent, but could be higher.

However, health minister Lord Warner told the GPC last month that the DoH was imposing a change in the deal. The 48 per cent dynamisation would be spread over five years to 2007/8.

He said this was to avoid a step change to lower dynamisation factors in the following years, and because NHS organisations may not have been able to afford it without diverting cash away from services for patients.

Dynamisation was also spread to remove a ‘perverse incentive for significant numbers of GPs to retire simultaneously once the years of major increase end’.

However, this statement came nine months after many GPs retired in April 2006 having worked beyond the standard retirement age of 60 to benefit from incentives they believed were set in stone in their contracts.

GPs who retired in 2006 will not benefit at all from dynamisation deferred to 2006/7 and 2007/8.

GPs who have not yet reached retirement age will also lose out, but less heavily.

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