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NHS pensions deal agreed

The huge majority of GPs are to keep their career average pension schemes and the right to retire on a full pension aged 60

But GPs who start pension schemes from April 1 next year will have a normal retirement age of 65.

Unions and the government have thrashed out an agreement as part of the NHS Pension Scheme Review.

The new scheme will introduce survivor benefits for all nominated partners, not just spouses and civil partners, which will be payable for life.

There will also be earnings-related ‘tiered contributions' so that higher paid staff pay more fairly for the benefits they draw, health minister Ben Bradshaw said.

He added that ‘step-down' arrangement will be introduced so that final salary staff approaching retirement can transfer to less demanding duties without loss of pension entitlement.

‘The new pension scheme strikes the right balance between the security that staff deserve in their retirement and affordability for the tax payer,' said Mr Bradshaw.

The minimum age for drawing a reduced pension will increase from 50 to 55 for new entrants.

Dr Andrew Dearden, chair of the BMA's pensions committee, said that retaining the normal pension age of 60 had been a priority for GPs.

‘The health unions have negotiated to keep the most important features of the NHS pensions scheme. Our priorities were based on a consultation with BMA members last year.'

Meanwhile, the BMA is awaiting a date for a judicial review challenging government plans to cap doctors' pensions. Those who have retired since 2006 are most affected, with some set to lose up to £6,000 a year.

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