Leave NHS??

Hi, I've been in the NHS for over 28 years. I have paid into my.pension since 1995, I'm now nearly 47.
I have been off work with anxiety and depression for the last.three months.
I am very tempted to leave but my only concern is my pension.
Everybody tells me not to leave as the pension is so good, but it is seriously affecting my health and family life. 
Any advice is appreciated x

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  • MallyGirl
    MallyGirl Posts: 6,594 Senior Ambassador
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    sorry you are feeling this way.
    An NHS pension is very good but I would have said that your health and wellbeing are the most important thing.
    I’m a Senior Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the Pensions, Annuities & Retirement Planning, Loans
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    All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
  • BoGoF
    BoGoF Posts: 7,065 Forumite
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    A good pension is not in itself a reason to stay in a job. Is it the job itself that is causing your issues or other factors?
  • LHW99
    LHW99 Posts: 4,186 Forumite
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    If you leave, you won't lose the pension - it will be what is called "deferred" (not frozen) so will revalue a bit each year until you retire according to the rules.
    Hopefully your health may improve in future, and you will be able to rejoin the NHS, and then will have the choice of transferring this to add to any future pension you build up with them.
    If not, you have this pension (which will also increase a bit year by year when you are old enough to claim it) plus the state pension, which does the same. And even if you never rejoin the NHS, you may still be able to work elsewhere, and build up a different bit of pension, which will add to what you already have.
    The pension is good, but not so good its worth sacrificing your health for, not after 28 years of service. You need to look after your current self (and family) as well as your future one.
  • xylophone
    xylophone Posts: 44,264 Forumite
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    Everybody tells me not to leave as the pension is so good, but it is seriously affecting my health and family life.

    Is a change of career worth consideration?


    Or even a career break doing something completely different for a couple of years and then returning?

  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 9,821 Forumite
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    I'd see if you can get a projection from the NHS to say what your current pension with them will pay out at normal retirement age.   Make sure this is not a projection based on you making further contributions.

    Then get a State Pension forecast as well (through gov.uk website).

    Those 2 figures will likely reassure you about having a decent retirement income.  That in itself would be a good thing for your mental health.  

    There's a temptation to hang on to a current job using up sickness benefits but don't if that adds to your anxiety even while it may be adding to your pension. 

    Think about what you would want to do instead of working in the NHS.  You haven't said what you do specifically so think about if you want to do something similar (private nursing as opposed to NHS staff nurse or care home admin as opposed to hospital admin) or do something completely different.  Think about what triggers your anxiety and what will make you happy.  Lots of roles every where can be high pressure (customer service in large finance institutions spring to mind) but if you're ok with pressure if it's not too people related maybe that is sufficient.    

    Life is too short to be unhappy.  
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
  • hugheskevi
    hugheskevi Posts: 3,811 Forumite
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    Hi, I've been in the NHS for over 28 years. I have paid into my.pension since 1995, I'm now nearly 47.
    I have been off work with anxiety and depression for the last.three months.
    I am very tempted to leave but my only concern is my pension.
    Everybody tells me not to leave as the pension is so good, but it is seriously affecting my health and family life. 
    Any advice is appreciated x

    Your pension has two components - one is final salary, the other is career average.

    If you remain in employment, your final salary pension is based on your earnings when you leave. If you leave, it increases by CPI. So if your earnings increase by less than CPI, leaving is likely to lead to the final salary pension being higher than if you remained working.

    Your career average pension goes up by CPI+1.5% each year whilst you are in-service, but only by CPI if you leave. That difference adds up to a lot over 20 years.

    If you are unable to do your own job, or even any job at all, the ill-health protection from the schemes will be very financially significant. If you have been unable to work for 3 months, have you considering requesting an ill-health assessment?

    If you did leave, but then returned within 5 years, your deferred pension award would be cancelled and final salary links and enhanced in-service revaluation in the career average scheme would be reinstated. That would mean it would effectively be like being on unpaid leave for the time you were away.
  • Albermarle
    Albermarle Posts: 21,909 Forumite
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    Hi, I've been in the NHS for over 28 years. I have paid into my.pension since 1995, I'm now nearly 47.
    I have been off work with anxiety and depression for the last.three months.
    I am very tempted to leave but my only concern is my pension.
    Everybody tells me not to leave as the pension is so good, but it is seriously affecting my health and family life. 
    Any advice is appreciated x

    The issue is that many NHS/public sector workers are not really aware of how valuable their pensions are, and that is what your friends are reminding you about.

    However any employment package is made up of different elements.
    Salary
    Overtime
    Bonuses
    Number of holidays
    Pension 
    Etc
    They all have a value that makes up the total package.
    So if you got another job and the pension was worse, but the salary better then it can balance out.

    As said you would not lose the pension benefits you have gained so far.

  • theoretica
    theoretica Posts: 12,275 Forumite
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    Having a great pension means that if you left the NHS and took a job with a less good pension but the same salary it would be the equivalent of taking a pay cut.  But it can be worth taking a pay cut sometimes for quality of life, so long as you earn enough to cover your needs.
    It is worth looking at the pension you have already built up - together with your state pension you may decide saving for a pension is no longer a chief aim.
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
  • Purplelady65
    Purplelady65 Posts: 202 Forumite
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    Has your anxiety and depression been caused by work or is it factors outside work? If it’s been caused due to work factors might those factors change or are they ongoing factors which are unlikely to change? If it’s work related then a job is not worth staying in if it’s compromising your health and wellbeing. You could get a statement of your current pension benefits by logging onto ESR and looking for your TRS (Total Reward Statement). However it won’t be a totally accurate reflection of your benefits as they haven’t been updated to show the impact of the McCloud judgement and the choices available when you retire but will give you an indication nevertheless. If your anxiety and depression is severe it may be possible to apply for ill health retirement but as anxiety and depression can be recovered from it would be more difficult to get that than for other illnesses from which there is no prospect of recovery. 
  • german_keeper
    german_keeper Posts: 361 Forumite
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    Thank you very much for your 28 years service. I hope that doesn't sound patronising, it isn't meant to, but I really hope it makes you feel at least a little bit better in the difficult times you are going through. 
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