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Independents' Day

Out-of-hours altruists should wake up and smell the coffee

I was surprised to see any GP opting into the provision of out-of-hours. Dr Tom Davies (News, December 8) quotes £7,500 as the opt-out cost and reckons he might provide the service for 'a bit less'. Then he says the money retained by not opting out will count towards pension.

The only money guaranteed to come to GPs by not opting out is the 7 per cent of global sum, or £6,000 per average practice. The rest of the money is held by the PCT in the form of out-of-hours development funds. The available money for out-of-hours might decrease if there is pressure on the PCT budget. The money retained will not actually count towards pension because it is offset by expenses. Under the new contract pensionable income will change from IANI to net-profit base.

GPs opting in will retain responsibility for out-of-hours and Saturday morning for no financial reward and no increase in pension.

It is good to know there are still plenty of altruists in this world, but I suspect some of those might just be misinformed normal people who will wake up and smell the coffee when it hits the fan.

Dr Hank Beerstecher

Sittingbourne, Kent

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