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Legal move on pensions

PMS practices in Avon are on the verge of taking legal action against five PCTs over 'missing' superannuation payments.

Avon LMC is preparing to take 10 test cases ­ two from each PCT ­ to the NHS Appeals Authority in an effort to wrest 7 per cent superannuation they claim has not been included in growth funding.

Steve Mercer, LMC chief executive, said 27 practices had instructed him to work up test cases after identifying they had 'definitely not' been paid the money.

He said: 'Our practices still can't see that substantive increase in the way money was paid to them.'

A victory in the case would not set a precedent ­ but would establish the process and make it easier for other GPs to prove their case, he added.

Research by the BMA's lawyers, Lockharts, revealed PCTs did receive funding to pay the full 14 per cent for all PMS contract staff, regardless of whether they were paid from former staff budgets or PMS growth.

Nevertheless, one of the PCTs ­ Bath and North East Somerset ­ has insisted it paid practices the amounts.

Dr Simon Bradley, a GP in Bristol, said the cost to his practice of paying the superannuation was £8,000 a year.

He added: 'If we win it will demonstrate to Government the value of central negotiation with the GPC as it would show the weaknesses of local negotiation on issues that affect PMS GPs nationally.'

A spokeswoman for the five PCTs said they were seeking further clarification on the issue and would be discussing the outcomes with the LMC.

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