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Independents' Day

Buy added years before it's too late

From Dr Peter Williams, Eastbourne, East Sussex

I would like to raise awareness of the issue of NHS pensions and 'added years' before it is too late. I would not claim to be a pensions expert but I am the chairman of East Sussex LMC and we felt at a recent meeting that the subject is important and urgent. My understanding is that thousands of doctors

are risking missing out on enhancing their pension because of lack of awareness.

The next 12 months is the last time it will be possible to buy added years – and you only get one chance as you must start the contract at your next birthday. For a full pension at age 60 you need 40 years' contributions and unless you qualified and started work as a doctor at age 20 you will have a shortfall in your contributions.

When the new scheme comes in, added years will be dropped forever because the Government perceives that they cost too much money.

Added years seem expensive but are better than anything else available and nobody outside the current NHS scheme can match the value.

If you retire at 60 having bought added years you only need to live to about 67 to start benefiting. From then on the enhanced pension will last for the rest of your life – and for your spouse's life if you die first and it is index-linked.

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