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Access to the NHS Pension Scheme

NHS Pension Scheme access details for non NHS organisations.

Which Scheme access application form do you need to complete? (PDF:396KB)

Alternative Provider of Medical Services (APMS) contract, General Medical Services (GMS) contract and Primary Medical Services (PMS) agreement

Qualifying APMS, GMS, PMS contract holders (non-Independent Provider)

This section relates to any organisations that are bidding for an APMS (Alternative Provider of Medical Services) contract, GMS (General Medical Services) contract, PMS (Primary Medical Services) agreement and wish to become a Classic APMS contractor.


Holders of APMS contracts (Classic APMS)

A Classic APMS contractor is a practice, surgery or company that has entered into an APMS contract and who would also be eligible to enter into a GMS contract or PMS agreement for the provision of Primary Medical Services.

If you are the holder of an APMS contract and all your shareholders are from the NHS family you must apply for Classic APMS Employing Authority (EA) status as soon as possible. More information is available on the application form under the 'NHS Family' tab. If your shareholders are not from the NHS family or you are an LLP you do not qualify as a ‘Classic’ APMS contractor however you may qualify as an Independent Provider (IP).

You must apply for a new code for each individual APMS contract that you have successfully been awarded (seven Classic APMS contracts = seven EA codes). This can be done by completing the Classic APMS application form ensuring that you have read and are adhering to the NHS Family criteria. The application form can be found at the bottom of the page.

 For each application we require a full signed copy of the contract that was issued by your commissioner (electronic PDF is accepted).

Send all applications and status queries to our Scheme Access Team by emailing:

For each contract you hold as a Classic APMS contractor, you must offer the NHS Pension Scheme to your GPs (Practitioners) and non-GP (Practice Staff) employees.

For a more in depth explanation of the Classic APMS role in relation to the NHS Pension Scheme please read the guide at the bottom of the page.

If the structure and constitution of your surgery, practice or company changes (such as bringing in new shareholders) or a change of contract has occurred (i.e issued a new or variation of contract) please contact the Scheme Access Team immediately as this may compromise your EA contractor status.


Important changes

As of 1 April 2016 Classic APMS contractors that hold additional NHS Standard Contracts can pension all the staff working on the contracts under their Classic APMS contractor Employing Authority (EA) code. Please contact the Scheme Access Team as soon as possible if you believe this affects your practice, surgery or company to ensure you are paying under the correct EA code.


GMS and PMS contract holders

For GMS and PMS holders you must contact NHS Pensions as soon as you receive a new, variation or amendment of contract as we are your main pension provider.

This can be done by completing the GMS and PMS application form found at the bottom of the page. 

The Classic APMS Contractor Guide also covers information relevant to GMS and PMS contract holders.

More specific information is available in the user guides available on Pensions Online (POL). 

Should you need the APMS contractors guide please contact the Scheme Access team by email:

The purpose of this guide is to provide an overview of ‘day to day’ pension’s administration guidance for your organisation.

Classic APMS / GMS / PMS contractor form (Excel: 255KB)

Access for Local Authorities

Information/FAQsPension provision for transferring staff FAQs (PDF: 199KB)Public Health England Pension FAQs (PDF: 299KB)Public Health England Pensions Letter to HR (PDF: 165KB)Public Health Transfers from the NHS to Local Authorities (PDF: 222KB) – Pension provision update (July 2013)

Application for NHS Pension Direction Order (for use by Local Authority Employers only):Application for NHS Direction Order (PDF: 97.6KB)

Public Health Pension Direction – draft pension direction document (for reference only):Local Authority Direction Template (PDF: 90.7KB)

For general queries, you can contact us by emailing: 

Out of Hours

To provide pension administration guidance and instructions to Out of Hours Providers (OOHPs) who are NHS Pension Scheme Employing Authorities.

Out of Hours Application Form (Word:247KB)Out of Hours Application Guide (PDF:195KB)Out of Hours - a provider guide to administering the NHS Pension Scheme (PDF: 366KB)