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GPs' pensions fears laid bare

By Gareth Iacobucci

GPs' growing concern over the future of their NHS pensions has been laid bare by the results of a new survey which shows that 96% are expecting cuts to their pension in the future.

More than one in three of the GPs surveyed by Wesleyan Medical Sickness said they were worried that their pension would not provide them with a comfortable retirement.

And the survey also highlights widespread confusion over the Government's NHS Pension Choice exercise, which is offering GPs in the 1995 section a one-off opportunity to transfer their pension benefits to the 2008 scheme, following a report from Lord Hutton warning public-sector pension payouts were untenable.

In a poll of 176 GPs, nearly half (45%) were unaware that their intended retirement age was a key factor in deciding which scheme to choose.

In addition, 43% were concerned that the exercise would result in smaller retirement funds, although this is unlikely to occur unless a GP chooses the wrong option for their circumstances.

Although the majority of respondents (80%) were in the over-40 age group, 30% said they were yet to make additional pension provisions.

Dr John Canning, a GP in Middlesbrough and member of the Wesleyan Medical Sickness Advisory Board, said: ‘The NHS pension scheme is an extremely good one but as with any pension scheme it may not provide everyone with the level of retirement they want.'

‘As a working GP I know how busy my colleagues are but it's extremely important that they review their NHS Choice Pack carefully and seek advice if they are unsure. Clearly retirement is an important issue and we need to find the time to plan ahead so that we can enjoy the retirement we want at the age we want.'

One in three GPs fears their pension will not provide them with a comfortable retirement One in three GPs fears their pension will not provide them with a comfortable retirement

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