How to re-join the NHS (Scotland) pension scheme

On this page:

  • Who is eligible to re-join 
  • How to re-join

You can re-join following career breaks, changes in jobs or following periods where you've opted out of making payments to the scheme.

If you’re looking to re-join the scheme, you need to contact your employer and ask them to re-enrol you. To re-join, you’ll have to be:

  • aged between 16 and 75
  • directly employed by NHS Scotland, or be:
  • a medical, dental or ophthalmic practitioner (or trainee);
  • working for a general practice; working for certain approved employers or;
  • a non-general practitioner provider.

You can re-join the scheme by contacting your employer and letting them know you want to start contributing again, or, when you take up employment with the NHS, you’re automatically enrolled.


Salaried GP’s are automatically enrolled working under a Practice or Health Board.

Self employed GP’s (Principal & Locums) and General Dental Practitioners are required to opt in. Complete the OPT In form  and send to Practitioner Services.

If you choose to opt out of the scheme, you’ll be automatically re-enrolled after three years – which means you’ll have re-joined the scheme and would have to opt out again if you didn’t want to be a member. Similarly, you’re also re-enrolled if you take up an additional NHS Scotland employment. 

When you re-join, it may be possible to link your future benefits to any preserved benefits you already have. Please contact us to find out the situation in your particular case.

In some cases, former employees of NHS Scotland may be able to re-join the NHS Scotland pension scheme when they move to work for a university medical school, hospice or other charity that provides services or supplements to NHS Scotland. In order for this to happen, you’ll need to check with your employer and apply within three months of starting your new employment outside NHS Scotland. Ask your new employer for an SB115 form.

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