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Give us answers, Dr Meldrum

Open letter to Dr Hamish Meldrum, former GPC chair

It is more than six months since Lord Warner and the Department of Health imposed 'pension capping' on what was understood to be the legal and binding agreement of the 2004 GMS contract. Their action was unprecedented, non-negotiated, retrospective and contractually illegal.Well over 1,000 UK GPs have retired since the GMS contract. Their planned timing of retirement was an irreversible decision based on the terms of the contract they signed.

The vast majority of GPs are still awaiting dynamising factors of 20% and 12% for 2004/5 and 2005/6 respectively. They remain unaware of the department-imposed dynamising factors of 6.9% and 7.3% for those two years and the consequent financial loss of around £100,000 in pension income in even the first 10 years of their retirement. They remain unaware that their retirement income is presently at the tender mercy of a judicial review, which may or may not succeed.

Many of those GPs paid BMA subscriptions throughout their careers and have continued subscriptions in retirement. All paid LMC levies for decades. Astonishingly, the GPC/BMA does not appear to have realised it has a responsibility and a moral obligation to inform those retired GPs of the prevailing circumstances and the serious financial threat arising from 'pension capping'. Has this been a genuine oversight? Has this been an omission arising from incompetence?

Or has this been deliberate policy to let sleeping dogs lie?The GPC/BMA conspiracy of silence is inexcusable and demands your explanation.

From Dr Jim Beatson, Troon Ayrshire; Dr Stuart Holms, Ayr; Dr Jimmy Niblock, Ayr; Dr Robert Cumming, Lochranza, Arran; Dr John Hawson, Windermere, Cumbria; Dr Robert Park, Shrewsbury; Dr Christine Macnair, Cumnock, Ayrshire; Dr Malcolm Macnair, Cumnock, Ayrshire; Dr Hamish Smart, Larkhall, Lanarkshire; Dr Roderick MacLeod, Glasgow; Dr David Young, Stirling; Dr William Phillips, Solihull, West Midlands; Dr Tony Shepheard, West Byfleet, Surrey; and 11 other GPs

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