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Independents' Day

Claim your pension without quitting

GPs wanting to claim their pension and return to work no longer have to resign from the NHS first under new HM Revenue and Customs regulations.

Until 5 April this year, GPs were required to leave their job for at least one day and then return to work under a new contract, not working more than 16 hours in the first month.

But new HM Revenue and Customs guidelines state: 'After 6 April, 2006, there is no requirement in the tax legislation that people must finish working before taking pension benefits.'

The change is a huge boost to singlehanders, many of whom have been forced by PCTs to give up their practice after applying to claim their pension and return to work.

Dr Mike Taylor, a GP in Heywood, Lancashire, and chair of the Small Practices Association, said: 'The intended retirement age of singlehanders is later than that of [GPs in] bigger


He added: 'Job satisfaction

is part of the reason, but they are also anxious they will be

unable to return to work part-time.'

A spokesperson for the NHS Pensions Agency said the one-day rule was 'under review' and it was seeking guidance from the Department of Health. He added: 'As soon as we receive this guidance we will issue a newsletter to GPs.'

Existing NHS pension scheme regulations do not specify there must be a break in


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