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Q. I am 50 years old and always planned to retire in 2015 at age 60. I have read some of the NHS pensions review proposals and note that if I continue as a GP from the end of 2012 I would have to join the new scheme and therefore could not retire at age 60. Should I be planning to retire in 2012?

A. Headlines saying large numbers of GPs are planning to retire before 2012 for that reason have been disconcerting for older GPs. Actually, the pensions review has been clear that once GPs join the new scheme all of their previous pension contributions can remain under old scheme rules. So if you retire at age 60 only the last four years of service would fall under any new rules and face a reduction in pension.

Since it is proposed that the accrual rate for the new pension will be higher than currently this will have a negligible affect on your final pension.

If you retired at age 56, actuarial reduction and four years lost contributions would reduce your pension by around 30 per cent of that you could have achieved by retiring at age 60. Note that these are currently only proposals; the BMA is trying to get the cut-off date extended.

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