Last reviewed 1 February 2021

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is consulting on proposals to change NHS Pension Scheme regulations. Full details of the consultation, together with a copy of the draft National Health Service Pension Schemes and Injury Benefits (Amendment) Regulations 2021, can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/changes-to-the-nhs-pension-scheme-regulations.

The deadline for submitting comments is 8 April 2021.

Proposed changes include:

  • equalise the entitlement to survivor pensions for male survivors of female scheme members who would otherwise receive a lower pension under existing rules, following the employment tribunal decision in Goodwin v the Secretary of State for Education

  • further to the changes required following Goodwin, remove certain amendments to the 1995 Regulations made by the Civil Partnership (Opposite Sex Couples) Regulations 2019 (SI 2019/1458)

  • ensure that payments and allowances under the New to Partnership Payments (N2PP) Scheme, introduced by NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHS E&I) in 2020, are treated as non-pensionable earnings for both GPs and non-GP providers

  • reform the final pay control provisions of the 1995 Regulations, following a review and recommendations by the NHS Pension Scheme's Scheme Advisory Board

  • make miscellaneous amendments to correct minor errors or omissions in the NHS Pension Scheme Regulations and the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme Regulations.

Goodwin v the Secretary of State for Education

In June 2020, the employment tribunal handed down its judgment in Goodwin v the Secretary of State for Education. The tribunal considered the rules on survivor benefits in the Teacher's Pension Scheme and concluded that a female member in an opposite-sex marriage was treated less favourably than a female member in a same-sex marriage or civil partnership, and that treatment amounted to direct discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

As a direct result of this discrimination, male survivors of female members were entitled to a lower rate of survivor benefit than a comparable same-sex survivor. Consequently, the relevant provisions of the Teachers' Pension Scheme Regulations 2010 were found to be in breach of the non-discrimination rule set out in s.61 of the Equality Act 2010.