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Warner moves to cap GP pensions

Health minister Lord Warner is to impose a cap on GPs' pensions, citing 'unintended' rises in GP pay from the new contract to justify the move.

As Pulse went to press, sources indicated the Department of Health was clearing the way to impose the cap this week.

It has decided to push ahead, despite threats of legal action from the GPC, after figures showed GPs earned a 30 per cent pay rise in 2004/5.

Responding to the statistics from the NHS Information Centre, Lord Warner said GPs had failed to invest enough of their extra income on improving services.

He is now expected to impose a pensions settlement of 48 per cent over the period 2003 to 2008. The figure, which was rejected by the GPC last month, equates to the predicted increase over the first three years of the contract. The BMA has estimated it would mean a 13 per cent cut in pension for GPs retiring in April 2006.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, GPC chair, said anything less than the deal agreed by the Government and NHS Employers in 2003 was unacceptable.

'It is absolutely clear what our position on pensions is – unless the announcement is that the Government will implement the agreed deal, we will be taking the matter further.'

Dr Meldrum said the Government's continued efforts to claw back the pay rise GPs earned through the contract were 'obviously a worry' but vowed to protect the gains.

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