Basis of contributions
Doctors and dentists may be both self-employed and / or salaried employees of the NHS.
GPs provide services under a contract with the PCT for General Medical Services and dentists may provide services under similar contract provisions. Where they do, the earnings that they receive are treated as self-employed earnings. However, they are still eligible to join the NHS Pension Scheme.
The NHS Pension Scheme is one of the most comprehensive and generous pension schemes available. It is the largest centrally administered pension scheme in Europe. The pension provided is based on final salary or a Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE). The contributions are fixed, but the pension is guaranteed by the State. It is unusual for practitioners to opt out where they are entitled to be a member.
In Scotland, the NHS Pension Scheme is administered by the Scottish Public Pensions Agency. In Northern Ireland, the pension scheme is administered by the Public Health Agency via the Health and Social Care (HSC) Trust.
Where income derives from the NHS, this is taken into account in determining the amount of pension that is due. It is also, therefore, taken into account in determining the contributions made each year. The contributions are called 'superannuation contributions' and any pay used to determine the contributions is referred to as 'superannuable pay'.
With restructuring of contracts between the NHS and practitioners, there have been numerous changes to the structuring of the payments over recent years. Combined with the fact that practitioners are often self-employed but members of an occupational pension scheme, there has been much confusion.
Currently, there is a graduated scale of contributions which ranges from 5% of superannuable pay for the lowest earners to 14.5% for the highest.
NHS staff can elect to pay up to all their remaining pay in AVCs. NHS staff can also secure a larger pension through Additional Pension (AP) contributions. The maximum AP that can be purchased through this