Doctors: Pensions

Department of Health written question – answered on 16th September 2016.

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Photo of Andrea Jenkyns Andrea Jenkyns Conservative, Morley and Outwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what the average lifetime allowance on retirement is for existing consultants and GPs; and what the average private sector pension pot is on retirement.

Photo of Philip Dunne Philip Dunne The Minister of State, Department of Health

The National Association of Pension Funds Annual Survey 2013[1] states that the average pension paid to scheme members of defined benefit schemes is around £8,100 a year. A pension of this amount at retirement is likely to be valued at between £160,000 and £200,000 for lifetime allowance purposes.

The average value of pension for lifetime allowance purposes is £920,000 for consultants and £1,012,000 for general medical practitioners.

The data underlying the average pension figures, that were supplied by the Government Actuary’s Department above, are based on NHS Pension Scheme membership data as at 31 March 2015 and covers both 1995 and 2008 section members.

The average pension figures are taken from the active member data and based on average accrued pension for those aged 59 and over in 1995 scheme and 64 and over in 2008 scheme. Note that these are mostly 1995 section members so they will also qualify for a lump sum of three times their pension.

We are unable to identify consultants directly from the data, so the above figures are based on data for all officers earning over £76,001 (the lowest pay threshold for a consultant in 2016/17 on a 2003 contract). The results will therefore include some non-consultants, and the figure could potentially be skewed by inclusion of other higher earners, for example specialist nurses who have additional non-basic pensionable pay.

There could be potential skewing caused by recent trends of high earners opting out/retiring from the scheme (they would therefore not be in the underlying data used to derive the above pension amounts).

[1] http://www.plsa.co.uk/PressCentre/news/0494-National-Association-of-Pension-Funds-Annual-Survey-2013-key-findings.aspx

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