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Pensions cap appeal 'not binding'

Ministers will be free to ignore a judicial review decision in GPs' favour over the pensions cap, writes Helen Crump.

Confirming the GPC would pursue a review to challenge the legality of the cap, chair Dr Hamish Meldrum conceded the Government was 'not absolutely bound' by the outcome.

He said: 'It could produce legislation next week that might change things retrospectively.'

Lawyers had advised negotiators that no government had ignored such a High Court ruling, Dr Meldrum added.

If ministers did ignore the ruling or the GPC lost, GPs would have to pursue individual cases to regain their lost pension.

Dr Meldrum's comments came after he issued a rallying cry to GPs, urging them to defend themselves against politically inspired 'doctor-bashing'.

In a letter to every GP, Dr Meldrum said they were under threat from local NHS deficits, private sector encroachment and an unprecedented volume of misinformation.

The Government 'could not be more mistaken' if it felt blaming GPs would divert attention from where the real blame for the NHS crisis lay, he added.

Dr Meldrum said: 'Their persistent denigration of GPs is completely counterproductive.'

More than 200 GPs this week signed a letter to The Times, complaining at constant negative coverage of GPs.

The letter's author, Dr Eric Rose, a GP in Milton Keynes and GPC member, criticised negotiators' low-key approach to rebutting inaccurate stories.

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