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Pension rules herald more GPs Ltd

Rules on pensionable income are set to change in a move that could herald a GP rush to set up practices as limited companies.

Under the plans, dividends would become pensionable through the NHS pensions scheme, acting as a substantial incentive for GPs to adopt the limited company model.

Accountants predicted the rules could have a dramatic effect on general practice. Mike Gilbert, partner at accountant RMT in Newcastle, and a

former chair of the Association of Independent Medical Accountants, said GPs had so far opted against the step because as company directors it would be more difficult to remain within the NHS pension scheme.

He said: 'I'm beginning to wonder if there will be a rush in forming limited companies.'

But he warned that partnerships becoming limited companies might have to renegotiate contracts with PCTs.

Dr Tom O'Shea, a GP in Leeds and director at LeeDrs, a 70-GP limited company, said: 'If dividends were pensionable, it would certainly be an in-

centive for more people to set up organisations such as ours.'

Dr Hamish Meldrum, GPC chair, said he was waiting for detailed guidance from HM Revenue and Customs on how the change would work but cautiously welcomed any new way in which money earned from NHS work could be invested in NHS pensions.

• Enrol for the Pulse pension seminar. Details, page 58

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