In this edition of the Learning zone we explore the pension implications for doctors with Mental Health Officer status.
Mental Health Officer (MHO) status applies to members of the 1995 NHS Pension Scheme who work specifically in helping patients with mental health disorders. The criteria was generally you had to work in this field for 80% of the time. In order to qualify for MHO status you had to be registered as such before 6th March 1995.
With regard to the NHS Pension Scheme there are two main advantages of having MHO status:
1. After completing 20 years of MHO service each subsequent year is worth double for NHS Pension service purposes.
2. After completing 20 years of service as an MHO you should be able to take your retirement benefits at age 55 without any actuarial reduction (and not wait until the Normal Pension Age of 60).
The overall maximum service that you can build up as an MHO is 45 years. However, at the age of 55 the maximum service is 40 years and at the age of 60 the maximum is 45 years.