The NHS Pension Scheme

Anyone who starts working for the NHS automatically becomes a member of the NHS Pension Scheme, but membership is voluntary and you can opt not to join and leave the Scheme at any time by completing form SD502. This form is available from your employer.

The NHS Pension Scheme has undergone significant changes that became effective on 1 April 2008. Members should read the Members Guide - SD Guide to find out more about the Section they are in: To determine which Section you are in, or can join, refer to the flowchart in the Members Guide.

Further information about various aspects of the NHS Pension Scheme can be found on this website.

Members of both Sections are entitled to:

  • A pension linked to pay and length of membership. (Benefits are fully guaranteed and will increase each year to keep pace with inflation);
  • Immediate life assurance of twice your annual pay from the first day of joining. This is usually a tax-free lump sum payable to anyone or your estate;
  • Pensions and allowances for your spouse, civil partner, qualifying unmarried partner*, and dependent children if you die;
  • A tax free lump sum (optional in the case of members of the 2008 Section);
  • Voluntary early retirement** from age 50*** (1995 Section) or 55 (2008 Section) members will receive an actuarially reduced pension because the pension will be paid earlier and for longer.


* Nominated qualifying partners in exclusive long term committed relationships of at least two years and are either financially dependent or inter-dependent.
** Restrictions apply see the Members Guide - SD Guide or the Early Retirement section.
*** If you joined the 1995 Section on or after 6 April 2006 your minimum retirement age will change to 55 on 6 April 2010. if you returned to the Scheme after 6 April 2006 this may also apply to you.

Many doctors welcome the opportunity to discuss their benefits and retirement planning options with our specialist advisors. Please complete the contact us section should you wish to review your NHS pension benefits.