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At the heart of general practice since 1960

VAT delay battle joined by expert witnesses

Doctors who work as expert witnesses in compensation claims will face a multitude of problems if the Government applies VAT to medical services this April, it is claimed.

The UK Register of Expert Witnesses said implementation of the changes before April 2007 would not leave enough time to educate doctors.

Doctors were 'remarkably uncommercial' in their outlook because they had been 'cocooned' in the NHS, it said in evidence to an HM Revenue and Customs consultation on the issue.

The evidence backs the BMA's demand for the change, which will force 75 per cent of GPs to register for VAT, to be delayed until 2007.

The UK Register of Expert Witnesses said many doctors had already 'suffered' at the hands of unscrupulous medical reporting organisations that provided them with poor terms and conditions and pay rates.

Its submission said around one-third of medical expert witnesses would have to register for VAT as they would meet the £60,000 threshold for the work.

'There is a major need for medical doctors to be educated about VAT,' the submission stated. 'Most doctors have spent many years within the NHS, far removed from commercial realities.'

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