By: 27 June 2023
Cavendish Medical blog: New NHS retirement flexibilities introduced

Dr Benjamin Holdsworth on the partial retirement options to help stop the workforce ‘exodus’

The Department of Health and Social Care’s consultation into NHS retirement flexibilities has improved retirement options for doctors as well as changed the pension valuation method which was generating additional tax payments.

You can now retire from the NHS, take pension benefits and then rejoin the 2015 pension scheme in new rules known as ‘retire and rejoin’ which were formally introduced in April. There is no set limit to the pension benefits which can be accrued, although you do need to be under 75.

The previous 16-hour maximum working limit for the first month after ‘retirement’ has also been removed but a minimum 24-hour break is required before rejoining.

From October this year, you can also take partial retirement while keeping your current job role and terms and conditions. This will allow members of the 1995 section to enjoy the same facility as those in 2008 section and 2015 scheme.

If you wish to apply for the partial retirement opportunity, you must agree to reduce your pensionable pay by at least ten per cent. This may prove particularly challenging for consultants who work a set number of PAs. We await further guidance from the DHSC on how this might work in practice but it could involve an agreement between the employer and consultant to make some PAs non-pensionable, for example.

One of the other key outcomes from the consultation is a revision to the way pension growth is valued. From the 2022/23 tax year onwards, the date that the 2015 pension scheme is revalued each year will be moved from 1 April to 6 April. This is to remove an anomaly which was generating skewed pension growth and subsequently, larger pension tax payments.

The second part of the McCloud consultation concluded in June and should inform us how the government plans to implement the Remedy which is due to be in place by October. There are therefore many elements to consider now as part of a full retirement plan – do not delay if you would like a helping hand to navigate these significant developments.


Dr Benjamin Holdsworth is director of Cavendish Medical – specialist financial planners for medical professionals in the NHS or private practice. For a second opinion on your finances, please contact us on 020 7636 7006.


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