The NHS pension scheme as a medical director

It can be hard to know whether to pension your earnings as a medical or clinical director. Here we answer when and whether it is beneficial for you.

Location: UK
Audience: Consultants GPs
Last reviewed: 7 September 2020
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Additional pay from medical director duties

The standard practice is that if you are working whole-time (10 PAs) and undertake medical or clinical director duties in addition to your 10 PA (programmed activities) contract, this can only be pensionable if you are paid in the form of a responsibility allowance.

​If you are paid additional PAs for the performance of these duties these will not be treated as pensionable. As the treatment of such payments is down to negotiation we recommend you discuss with your employer whether they are prepared to consider any additional payment.

If you are working part-time (fewer than 10 PAs), and undertake medical or clinical director duties, these can be pensionable.


If you stop your duties before you retire

  • If you are contributing to the 1995 section then your total pensionable pay is calculated with reference to your pensionable earnings over the best of the last three years.
  • If giving up your duties results in a 10%+ reduction in your commitment and pay, then you may be able to apply for voluntary protection of pay.
  • If you are contributing to the 2008 section then your reckonable pay is calculated with reference to your pensionable earnings over the last ten years.


Is it always beneficial to pension my earnings?

If you are in the 1995 section and are in the last three years of your employment, it is beneficial to pension these earnings. If you are not in the last three years, they will not count towards your pension.

If you are working part-time and receive additional PAs as a result of additional medical or clinical direction duties, you can pension additional PAs up to a maximum of 10 PAs per week. This may boost the amount of pensionable service you accrue which may benefit your pension.

Please remember that if you were to leave, or were to retire early due to ill health, or die in service during a period performing clinical or medical director duties, (or shortly after these duties had finished) and they had not been treated as pensionable, your pensionable pay will not include these earnings.


Making your pay pensionable

If you wish to pay pension contributions on this pay then it is sensible to agree this at the start of the arrangement.

It is not possible to subsequently alter your contract without an objectively justifiable reason for doing so, as the pensions agency may view this a purely an attempt to boost your pension.

If you are having issues with your employer disagreeing with your right to make the pay pensionable, you can contact BMA pensions for support and guidance.

Need help? For questions about any aspect of your working life, our advisers are here to help you. Opening times: 8am - 8pm Monday to Friday (excluding UK bank holidays) and 9am - 12pm on Saturdays.