What happens when you leave or re-join the scheme?

Your NHS pension scheme practitioner membership must cover ALL your practitioner employments at all times.

Opting out

Although you’ll be automatically enrolled in the NHS pension scheme when you accept a practitioner contract, scheme membership is optional and you can choose to opt out at any time.

Due to differences in the regulations for practitioners, you must complete the practitioner opt out form, declare each of your Practitioner employments on the form and send it directly to SPPA. We’ll then contact your individual employers directly and inform them that you wish to opt out of the scheme.

You need to be aware that the opting out process takes longer for practitioner members so you’ll need to give two pay months’ notice in advance of the date you wish your contributions to stop.

Note that although you must leave scheme membership on all your practitioner posts at the same time, if you have an ‘NHS officer’ employment, you can still pay pension contributions on this post.

Once your employer has received notification from SPPA that you wish to opt out then SPPA will receive a leaver form (NSR02), from your employer. You’ll then have the following options, depending on how long you’ve been a member of the scheme:

Less than two years’ service:

  • option to apply for a refund of contributions
  • option to preserve your benefits in the scheme
  • option to transfer your benefits to another defined benefit scheme.

More than two years’ service:

  • option to preserve your benefits in the scheme
  • option to transfer your benefits to another defined benefit scheme.

What are the consequences of opting out?

If you opt out and take a full refund of contributions, you’ll have no benefits left in the scheme.

If your benefits are preserved in the scheme, your:

  • Death in service benefits may be reduced;
  • Ill health retirement benefits may be reduced, and;
  • Your annual Pensions Increase will be linked to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rather than CPI + an enhancement.

Additional Pension and Added Years contracts

If you leave the scheme while you’re still committed to paying monthly contributions towards Added Years or Additional Pension contracts you’ll not receive the full entitlement from your contract. If you opt out of the scheme for longer than a 12 month period, your Added Years or Additional Pension contract will be cancelled you’ll receive a proportional credit of what you’ve already purchased.

Re-joining the scheme

As long as you meet the membership criteria, you can re-join the scheme. Your membership will have to cover all your practitioner employments at the time you re-join the scheme.

If you’re a self-employed GP or a GP Locum then you will have to complete the opt in application form which is available from Practitioner Services.

If you’re an employed GP, you must contact your payroll department, so they can opt you back into the scheme.

You must then start paying contributions from the first of every month.

When you re-join you must remain in the scheme for at least a month for administration purposes.

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