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GP co-ops better than NHS Direct at handling out-of-hours calls

Having just read the piece on pensions (Features, September 3) I am writing to say the NHS pension scheme is not actually as straightforward or fair as the article would imply!

I practised as a dental principal to support myself at medical school and when I recently requested a pension forecast I was surprised to find the pensions authority refused to count

my years of hospital service along with my principal service for pension calculation.

They insist the hospital service pension is calculated separately on the final salary adjusted for inflation. In my case this will make a difference of at least £6,000 a year to my pension (incidentally this also applies to any GP principal who returns to hospital service and does not retain his principal status!).

Clearly this is an anomaly that needs amending, especially as it was not clear in the NHS pension information book I was given when I became a GP principal. I am sure there are many others waiting to be exposed.

Dr Tim Southwood



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