Changes to the NHS pension scheme

Published by Jill Insley on 29 October 2013.
Last updated on 29 October 2013

Doctor and patient

The NHS Career Average pension scheme comes into effect from April 2015. The new scheme will have a normal pension age (NPA) set in line with the state pension age – a rise from the previous NPA of 60 for the majority of those in the 1995 section of the NHS Pension Scheme, and 55 for mental health officers. Members in the 2008 section already have an NPA of 65.

Tapered protection will be provided for members for up to three and a half years beyond the full protection given to those who are within 10 years of their NPA. The accrual rate will be 1/54th of each year's pensionable earnings, with no limit on pensionable service. This is a more generous accrual rate than both the 1995 and 2008 sections of the NHS scheme, which had an accrual rate of 1/80th.

However, the cost of members' contributions are set to rise to an average of 9.8% of pensionable pay, from previous levels that ranged from 5% to 8.5%. The reforms will also reduce the average value of the pension benefit by more than one third from 23% to 14% of the scheme member's salary, according to the Pensions Policy Institute.

For more detailed examples of how people who joined the NHS scheme at different times and who are on a variety of salaries, visit

To use the NHS pension calculators for a more accurate calculation of how the reforms will affect your own pension, visit

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