NHS Pensions

The NHS Pension Scheme is a defined benefit public service pension scheme, which operates on a pay-as-you-go basis. Pension benefits are based on final salary (although general and dental practitioners accrue pensions on a ‘career average’ basis).

On 1 April 2008, the scheme divided into two sections – the 1995 section and the 2008 section – when a new benefit structure was introduced for new entrants.

The NHS Pension Scheme is administered by the NHS Business Service Authority, where you can find more information about the scheme.

You can use the calculator for 2013 to 2014 employee contributions to work out how much your contributions will increase, if at all, on a monthly basis.

NHS Pension Scheme contributions calculator for 2014 to 2015

2015 NHS Pension Scheme

From 1 April 2015 there will be a new NHS Pension scheme, which reflects the recommendations made by the Independent Public Service Pensions Review conducted by Lord Hutton.

The Department of Health has had detailed discussions with health sector trade unions and employer representatives to finalise the new NHS Pension Scheme.

The proposed final agreement on reforms to the NHS Pension Scheme is the government’s final position on the design of the new pension scheme.

Members of the NHS scheme now have to work to the state pension age (up to 68) in order to be able to draw a full pension. Any future changes to the state pension age would automatically be incorporated in the NHS Scheme without further consultation. NHS staff pension contributions increased from April 2012, with the highest earners contributing over 14% of their pay by 2014. Doctors currently at the start of their careers would in many cases have to pay over £200,000 in additional lifetime pension contributions. There would be a switch from a final salary scheme to a career average revalued earnings (CARE) scheme for hospital doctors (GPs already have CARE pensions) from April 2015.

I’m in the 2008 section of the pension scheme – does this mean I am not affected?

No – doctors on all NHS pension schemes are affected by the proposals. Despite a complete overhaul of the NHS pension scheme in 2008 (and ensuing pensions choice exercise) to make it sustainable for the future and the fact that the NHS scheme is in very good financial health, the Government proposals for pensions reform will apply to all doctors in the NHS Pension Scheme.

2017 update

The BMA recently updated its guidance on the pension scheme, which can be viewed by clicking here.
This guidance looks at issues including how the NHS pension scheme works, your entitlements, HMRC limits and retirement procedures.
You can also click here for the Eligibility to join the NHS Pension Scheme FAQs.