Guidance

Covid-19 Update

See – NHS Pensions for full details

The UK government’s coronavirus action plan sets out measures to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. This included measures to increase the available health and social care workforce by allowing recently retired NHS staff and social care workers to return to work and tackle the outbreak.

From 25 March 2020 to 25 March 2022, section 45 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 suspended some regulations to allow retired or partially retired NHS staff to return to work or increase their working commitments without having their pension benefits suspended or reduced (known as abatement). The Department of Health and Social Care then extended the temporary ‘retire and return’ easements until 31 October 2022.

Following a public consultation which ran from 28 August to 12 September 2022, the Department of Health and Social Care has announced the temporary ‘retire and return’ easements will be extended further:

  • the 16-hour rule was suspended to 31 March 2023 and was permanently removed from 1 April 2023 for members in 1995 Scheme (already an option for 2008 and 2015 members).  This permanent change enables a more Flexible Retirement.
  • abatement of special class status members who retire and return to work between age 55 to 60 will be suspended to 31 March 2025
  • abatement of draw-down members of the 2008 Section and 2015 Scheme was suspended to 31 March 2023

NHSBSA have produced a helpful FAQ  sheet to cover these changes.

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NHS Pensions Employer Contributions – Transitional Arrangements

The NHS Pension Scheme employer contribution rate increased on the 1 April 2019 from 14.3% to 20.6% plus the employer levy of 0.08%.

The Department of Health and Social Care’s consultation response announcing the rise, published in March 2019, confirmed the available funding to meet the associated costs and that a transitional arrangement would operate in 2019/20 where employers in the Scheme would continue to pay 14.38%.

Although our initial expectation was that this transitional arrangement would only be in place for 2019/20, the approach continued in subsequent years, and we can now confirm that the transitional arrangement will continue again in 2023/24 in order to maximise stability for employers in the sector, particularly in light of the continuing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This means that for 2023/24, all employers should continue to pay 14.3% in employer contributions plus 0.08% employer levy under their normal monthly payment process to the NHS Pension Scheme. NHS England will continue to make payments to the Scheme for organisations covered by the commitment to the NHS.

NHS pensions for GPs and other NHS staff are different and complex.

  • We would recommend you consult the NHS Pensions Agency website for up to date and informative advice on your pension. There is also guidance explaining the different schemes that you may have membership to.
  • The BMA has guidance for GPs on pensions and how the BMA can support doctors.
  • You may also be interested in our webpage for 24 hour retirement for GPs.

NHS Pension member contribution rate changes come in force on 1st October 2022. NHS Employers have created this handy poster with the previous and new rates on, that you might find use. You can read more about these changes on the NHS Employers website. and raise awareness amongst your practice staff wish this key messages poster.

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Partial Retirement

Changes to the NHS Pension Scheme for a Partial Retirement come into force from 1st October 2023.  Members with benefits in the 1995 Scheme will be able to claim their pension and work in a more flexible way without having to leave their job.  Taking part of their pension benefits is also sometimes known as ‘draw down’.  This is already possible for pension benefits earned in the 2008 or 2015 Schemes but from 1 October 2023, it will also include members with benefits in the 1995 Section.  All members will be able to continue building their pension in the 2015 Scheme.  They will not need to take a break or change jobs.  They can carry on working if they want. They just need to reduce their pensionable pay by 10%. GPs and non-GP providers need to reduce their NHS commitments by 10%.

NHS Pensions are designing a new Partial Retirement Supplementary Form which GPs and non-GP Partners who wish to take partial retirement need to complete and submit to PCSE along with their AW8 Retirement Benefits Claim Form. Pension Scheme Members must read the Partial Retirement Factsheet before completing their application.

The Partial Retirement Supplementary Form will be published by NHS Pensions soon. If you wish to apply for partial retirement in the meantime please notify PCSE of this when you submit your AW8 via the Contact Us form on the PCSE website.

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Partners Owning Premises and Retirement

A number of GPs own their premises, and it is often wise, therefore, to include in the partnership agreement that; ‘when a partner retires or leaves a partnership, they are obliged to sell their share to the partnership/incoming partners.’

However, we would suggest this is a specialist area and would strongly recommend taking formal advice and check the most up to date Premises Cost Directions.

For most individual pension queries, though we may be able to help with guidance in some instances, we would generally suggest you seek expert, independent financial and or legal advice from an adviser familiar with GP practices and finance.

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Planning for Retirement and Pensions

Dr Andy Purbrick speaks with Dr Gareth Bryant about planning for retirement and practical advice around pensions.

Click on the image below to access the podcast.

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Resource Details for Pensions

    • Year-End Pension Guidance including links to the relevant forms –  https://pcse.england.nhs.uk/services/gp-pensions/support/
    • Queries relating to pensions you need to use the PCSE  Online Enquiries Form
    • GP Pensions website link – https://pcse.england.nhs.uk/services/gp-pensions/
    • If submitting pension forms by post, the PCSE address where to send these to, will be dependent on your home address therefore you will need to contact PCSE to confirm it.  This can either be done via the online enquiry form or by contacting the Customer Support Centre on 0333 014 2884
    • PCSE Guide for GPs and non-GP partners planning to retire – PCSE have worked with key stakeholders to produce a new guide (2022) for GPs and non-GP Partners who are planning to retire or take 24-hour retirement.  The NHS Pension Scheme Retirement Guide for GPs and non GP partners, found here, explains the six key steps of the process NHS Pension Scheme members whose pension contributions are administered by PCSE need to follow if they wish to claim NHS Pension retirement benefits.  The guide also sets out the timeline for each of the steps in the process and includes some helpful Top Tips.  We recommend that GPs and non-GP Partners read the guide in full, 12 months before the date they plan to retire.

PCSE recognise that the end-to-end process to claim NHS Pension retirement benefits is complex and they say are committed to improving the experience for GPs and non-GP Partners at this important time.

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Taking Late Retirement from the NHS 1995 Pension Section

In this podcast, Jan Harley-Doyle from Lifestyle Options explains the importance of practices being aware of the ramifications of staff taking late retirement from the 1995 section of the NHS pension scheme.

Please read the handout and share it with your colleagues to ensure that moving forward, all staff take their 1995 pension at a time that is most financially beneficial to them, taking into account their personal circumstances all the factors mentioned in the podcast.

Listen to the podcast here

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Working After Retirement

The effect of returning to NHS work (including a Direction Body) after retirement depends on which Section of the NHS Scheme you are a member of and what your last day of pensionable employment was.

If you return to NHS employment or re-employment that is in respect of the provision of NHS services or in respect of the delivery of NHS funded services before your normal pension age your pension may be subject to a reduction. This is known as “abatement”. Whether your pension is reduced or not will depend on the level of your earnings whilst re-employed. This will also depend upon when you left the Scheme, when you claimed your pension benefits and the type of pension benefits claimed. Abatement rules cease once you have reached your normal pension age of the Section or Scheme from which you have claimed your pension benefits.

NHS Pension Scheme: Working After Retirement Factsheet

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Last Reviewed Date
11/12/2023