By: 18 September 2023
Cavendish Medical Column: New details on NHS retirement flexibilities released

Patrick Convey on how to apply for partial retirement options  

As we reported in our last column, if you are a member of 1995 Section of the NHS Pension Scheme you will be able to take your pension benefits while retaining your current NHS role from October.  

New details on the partial retirement application process and the criteria needed to apply have just been released – although some of the key tools have been delayed.  

The partial retirement option is already possible for pension benefits earned in the 2008 Section and 2015 Scheme but from this autumn, it will also apply to 1995 Section benefits too. Doctors aged 55 and above, can choose to take between 20 and 100 per cent of their pension benefits in one or two payments – without having to leave work. However, those choosing this option, must reduce their pensionable pay by at least 10 per cent in the 12 months after drawdown. 

In order to proceed with an application, doctors must complete a new document called a ‘Partial Retirement Supplementary Form’ which was first published in July. There is also a new online ‘Partial Retirement Calculator’ to help members plan their next steps but this will not be available to use until 1st October at the earliest. 

As the new application form has not been available for long it will be difficult for NHS Pensions to process in time for those wishing to start their flexible retirement as soon as possible. NHS Pensions has vowed to make quick progress with applications but as we know, standard retirement forms can take at least 3 months. It has been confirmed that benefits will be backdated to 1st October if there are processing delays. 

If you are considering taking this opportunity, you should discuss your options with your financial adviser and ensure all options are fully explored. For example, anyone drawing their 1995 benefits before age 60 would be subject to a penalty. The McCloud remedy legislation which has just been published may also have an impact on your decisions. 


Patrick Convey is technical 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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