8 Key Takeaways – The NHS Pension For Absolute Beginners




The NHS pension causes A LOT of headaches for people, which is why I asked Medical IFA Sarb Chahal and Medical Accountant Tina Milligan to come into my facebook group to talk about it from a beginner’s perspective.

It was a LONG session!! I definitely think there is scope to do more on this though because it is such a huge topic!

It’s not just for doctors – this applies to anyone with an NHS pension.

If you want to watch the replay, then you can watch it here:

But I thought I’d also do a summary post for people who just want the key points raised by the session (I know I would!!). So below is my 10-minute takeaway summary, followed by the 8 key-points I picked out for you to take action on straight away.

And if you want any extra help, Sarb and Tina have kindly offered it – all you need to do is message them:

Sarb – [email protected]

Tina – [email protected]

The NHS Pension 10 Minute Takeaway


The 8 Key Points From The Session

Sometimes I think it’s helpful to have a summary of a long session, so here are my key takeaways from the talk.

Which Scheme Are You In?

The scheme year you are in doesn’t really matter (1995/2008 or 2015) – they are all calculated slightly differently, and if you really want to know how it’s calculated, there is a run down on this page for you (but Tina and Sarb do explain this to some extent in the video too). It isn’t necessary to know how to calculate your pension – this is what we ask professionals to do for us. Would you expect a patient to take out their own appendix? Hmm…

What counts is the information we PROVIDE to the pensions scheme – there are forms to fill. More on this later.

Should I Stay In The Pension Or Not?

I received some shocking advice recently about leaving the pension scheme because it isn’t “worth it” anymore. But this wasn’t based on any kind of solid facts. Sarb talks about this in the session, and in his opinion, the MAJORITY of people are better off staying in – whether you’re a dentist, doctor, nurse or some other valuable NHS worker, staying in is better than opting out. If you want to confirm this for yourself, speak to an IFA with a great understanding of the NHS pension to look at what benefits you might lose by opting out.

What Is Scheme Pays?

Staying in the NHS pension even applies to people who are facing tax bills in the later years of being in it. This is because there has been a cap placed on how much someone can have in their pension (lifetime allowance).

There is a way in which the NHS pension scheme will PAY for the tax bill, but you have to let them know. There will be an overall reduction in your pension, but on the grand scheme of things, it really isn’t by very much compared to what you actually have in the pot!

A medical accountant can help you with this if you are worried.

Practioner or Officer?

Throughout the session there is reference to whether someone is a practitioner or an officer. This is really important, because it means slightly different things when it comes to your pension. Officers are HOSPITAL based staff. Tina also said that nurses who work in the community are also classed as officers. This means your pension is worked out in a different way, and your hospital will sort out your pension. If you have any gaps in your pension paperwork, you have to go to your employer to rectify it.

If you are a GP, then you are a practitioner – salaried, partner or locum, it doesn’t matter. Your pension is managed in a different way (more coming up on this!).

Which Form Do I use to submit my pension data?

If you are a GP, then you have several different forms you can choose from. Hospital staff have it easier, you just say whether you want to be in the pension scheme or not when you start working.

If you don’t submit the right paperwork as a GP, your pension won’t be correct. A medical accountant like Tina can help you if you’re stuck.

Partner GPs need to submit ANNUAL Type 1 forms to PCSE (Primary Care Support England). This summarises how much money you need to pay towards your pension.

Salaried GPs need to submit ANNUAL Type 2 forms to PCSE. Again, this summarises what you need to pay towards your NHS pension.

Purely Locum GPs submit monthly A & B forms to PCSE. Form A is generated from every invoice sent to a practice or place of work that pays into your pension. Form B summarises the month of pension contributions – this only includes what you have ACTUALLY been paid for the month, not when you did the shift.

How do I find out what my pension is currently worth?

There are two forms you need. The first is the Total Rewards Statement. If you have ESR (electronic staff record) at your workplace, then you can access it through that. If not, just apply directly on the website.

The second form is the membership statement. For our purposes, the free options should be enough, but if you want something more specific from them, like an estimate of benefits at redundancy, then there is a charge for this.

It is possible to take my pension at 55, but…

Technically I can’t access my NHS pension until I am 68 (as it currently stands), because it is linked to our state pension age. However, you can start to take from your pension earlier than this, BUT it will reduce the pension you have for the rest of your life. Sarb recommended that you invest in other ways to top up your pension that you can use before your NHS retirement age so that you don’t erode your benefits.

If you’d like to learn how investing the stock market, book a 15 minute strategy session in with me and I can tell you how I can help you learn.

A medical accountant can help you to identify gaps and mistakes

Tina went through a rewards statement and identified a missing year of contributions. This is what we all need to be doing in order to check that our pensions are up to date.

She said that if you are working in a hospital, you should contact the hospital you were working at for the missing year because you will need evidence to submit to the NHS pension scheme that you worked when you said you did to rectify it.

If you are a GP then you need to look at the forms you have previously submitted (or not if this is the first time you’re hearing about this). There may be some errors on these forms, in which case resubmitting them, or sending them in for the first time will be the way forward.

You can contact the NHSBSA here, or the PCSE here for help.

And if you still can’t find the answer, a medical accountant can guide you in the right direction.

Final Thoughts

I appreciate that this is a complex issue, so breaking it down into something simple and actionable to hard to do! If you would like to talk about the next steps in your journey to wealth, why not book a 15-minute call with me? We can strategise your next move and get you on the path!

And you can also come into my free facebook group too to join like-minded people like you who are keen on improving their relationship with money!

Until next time,




P.S. If you enjoyed this session, why not try:


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