Retirement can be complex, and preparation is of utmost importance. This guide sets out some key areas. Further information can be found on the BMA website.

Retirement Options fall into four categories

  • Retiring from the partnership and the Medical Performers List (MPL)
  • Retiring from the partnership, not taking 24 hour retirement and staying on the MPL to do non partnership work
  • Taking 24 hour retirement and returning to the partnership (still on the MPL)
  • Retiring from the partnership, taking 24 retirement and returning to non - partnership work (still on the MPL)

If a GP wishes to remain on the Medical Performers List, the following must be considered;

  • If returning to work in the NHS you are limited to working 16hrs per week for one month after the retirement date.
  • Agreement from all partners regarding the terms of returning to the partnership. It is essential that issues such as working hours, voting rights and premises are agreed.  Up to date Partnership Agreement BMA         
  • The LMC also offers expertise guidance regarding Partnership Agreements from Abigail Askew. 
  • The returning partner needs to make sure the agreement includes that they receive both elements of the superannuation payments on return (employees and employers)
  • It is a contractual right under GMS
  • Contact your CCG at the earliest opportunity and continue dialogue throughout the whole process
  • The retiring GP may wish to remain on the performers list in order to undertake locum work, rather than remain a Partner

Essential Steps

This is now managed via PCSE online on behalf of NHSE. Both the Practice and the retiring GP must be signed up to PSCE Online.  It is advisable for the GP to take action by informing PCSE at least 3 months prior to the event. Problems often occur because the individual GP does not start the ball rolling early enough.  Online completion of the process via this portal is the most efficient method and recommended but PSCE.

  • Informing  CQC 

This is a lengthy process and therefore completing the forms for an outgoing partner and new Partnership should be done as soon as possible.

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 and what your last day of pensionable employment was. For example the 1995 scheme differs from the 2008 scheme. For more details see 

Returning to Work After Retirement 

NHS Pensions Hub Factsheet

In all cases your pension will not be affected if you return to NHS work before age 60/65 as a result of compulsory transfer of a non-NHS post.

24 Hour Retirement for GPs

In 2006 the NHS Pensions Agency reviewed the then current Regulations and clarified the arrangements that enable General Practitioners to take 24 hour retirement in order to trigger their pension benefits. This opportunity exists for GPs whether salaried or in partnership, but has particular implications for contract holders as the underlying requirement of the NHS Pension Scheme is the members must demonstrate a clear intention to retire.

All Medical Practitioner Scheme members must:

  • Retire from their NHS Contracts for not less than 24 hours
  • Must not work more than 16 hours per week in the first month after retirement
  • For Type 1 Medical Practitioners (that is, General Practitioners who are partners or who work single handed) this means that they must resign from any involvement in a GMS contract, PMS agreement, or APMS Contract.  Such GPs cannot undertake any NHS work, including locum, OOHs, or salaried employment, for at least 24 hours.
  • Type 2 Practitioners (that is, salaried General Practitioners) must also resign from their NHS contract of employment with their practice. Locum Practitioners must have no involvement in NHS work for at least 24 hours.

Practitioner scheme members who have a concurrent part-time NHS pensionable Officer post [such as hospital or GPwSI appointments] are not required to resign that post for 24 hours if it involves working for less than 16 hours per week. They must, however, cease paying pension contributions related to that post. This continuing work also counts towards the maximum 16 hours per week that may be undertaken in the first month following retirement, as does any NHS locum work.

If the 16 hour per week rule  is exceeded pension payments will be stopped and a member may have to repay any pension benefits that have already been received.

Subsequent to the first month, there are no restrictions on the number of hours that may be worked in NHS re-employment. These rules apply to all Practitioner Scheme members who qualify for the normal age pension, voluntary early retirement pension, and [with some caveats] ill-health pension.

Of note, GPs do not have to apply to be removed from the Performers List in order to take 24-hour retirement.  The Performers List provides eligibility to undertake all forms of NHS primary medical care and therefore the LMC recommends GPs only resign from the List if they are certain that they will not wish to do such work in the future.

Partnership Agreements

The decision for a Partner to retire has a huge effect on the Partnership. Ensuring that the Partnership Agreement is up to date will mean the retirement is a much easier process for all concerned.

It is important to understand what ‘24 hour Retirement’ actually means. It is often thought, in error, that a GP may retire on Friday and return to work on Monday. This is not the case. A GP must resign from the NHS GMS or PMS contracts for 24 hours. The LMC strongly recommends that these details are included in all Partnership Agreements. Please contact our PA Specialist for advice Abigail Askew. 

Smaller and single-handed Practices will need to allow plenty of time to contact their Area Team, CCG and LMC for advice on how this process should take shape.

Ill Health Retirement

There are various options for Retirement through ill health depending on your circumstances and which Pension Scheme you are a member of;

Tier 1

You are unable, through ill health, to work in your present job and your condition is permanent, you may be able to retire early and take your pension benefits without actuarial reduction. 

Tier 2

In addition to the above, you are unable to do any regular employment of a similar duration to your current duties you may be able to retire early and take your pension benefits without actuarial reduction and with enhancement.

Less than 12 months life expectancy

If you are under the scheme’s normal pension age you will be awarded the Tier 2 benefits which you can then convert to a lump sum.

For FAQs regarding NHS Pensions and Ill Health click here

For Pre-Retirement Checklist click here

NHS Business Services Authority (NHS Pensions) administer the pension scheme. Contact details:

Member helpline 0300 3301 346 or 0191 279 0571

Opening times: 8.00am to 6.00pm - Monday to Friday