Income Protection for NHS medical professionals

You can set up our Income Protection plans to pay out in line with NHS sick pay arrangements.

Just select a 52-week deferred period and make sure your client will meet these criteria at the time they claim to qualify:

  • Works in a medical profession in the UK, with a sick pay entitlement that exactly matches the NHS sick pay structure
  • Is registered, or provisionally registered, with the General Medical Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council or General Dental Council
  • If a doctor or surgeon, has a current licence to practise in the UK.

Sabbatical cover

We also cover eligible medical professionals for up to 12 months’ sabbatical, provided:

  • They continue to pay their premiums while on sabbatical
  • Their cover has been in place for at least 12 months
  • They’ve been working for the NHS for at least 12 months.

Minimum benefit amount

Doctors and surgeons can take advantage of an increased minimum benefit amount of £3,000 a month. All other professions receive a minimum benefit amount of £1,500.

We don’t set any requirement on a minimum number of hours your client has to work for our income protection. But if they work less than 16 hours a week, we’ll assess them on serious illness or everyday tasks definitions rather than own occupation.

How the deferred period works

Your clients will be eligible for different levels of sick pay from their employer, depending on their length of NHS service. With our Income Protection for NHS medical professionals, we’ll start paying out as soon as your client’s sick pay halves, to top them up to their insured amount. Then once their sick pay stops, we’ll increase their income protection payments to the insured amount.

This example assumes the insured amount is the same as the maximum benefit their earnings will support. The amount payable could change if their circumstances have changed.

Here’s how the sick pay arrangement works with the NHS, and when we’ll start paying them:

When client becomes sick Receives full pay for Then receives half pay for They’d start receiving income protection from
During the first year of service One month Two months Month two
During the second year of service Two months Two months Month three
During the third year of service Four months Four months Month five
During the fourth or fifth year of service Five months Five months Month six
From the sixth year of service onwards Six months Six months Month seven


What happens with other earnings?

If your client has earnings from any other source, you can set up another income protection cover on the same plan, with a deferred period to suit. Your client only pays one plan charge.

Dr Smith, an NHS doctor, has a salary of £40,000 a year. She chooses the maximum annual benefit of £23,500 a year, or £1,958.33 a month on her Income Protection.

She becomes sick after working for the NHS for 18 months. Under the NHS sick pay arrangement she'll receive two months of full pay and a further two months of half pay. When her pay reduces, we’ll start paying out – see the figures and timing below for what she’ll receive.


  NHS net income Royal London benefits Total income
Month 1 £2,570.00 £0 £2,570.00
Month 2 £2,570.00 £0 £2,570.00
Month 3 £1,436.67 £521.66 £1,958.33
Month 4 £1,436.67 £521.66 £1,958.33
Month 5 onwards £0 £1,958.33 £1,958.33

Dr Lee, an NHS doctor, decides to take a year off from the NHS to do volunteer work abroad. She agrees the sabbatical with her employer.

Four months into her sabbatical, Dr Lee is diagnosed with cancer and unable to work. She returns to the UK and claims on her income protection plan.

We treat her claim as if she were still working for the NHS, and assess it on an own occupation basis. At the time her sabbatical started, she had over five years’ NHS service, and her salary was £40,000 a year. When she took out our Income Protection she chose the maximum annual benefit. We’ll start paying her at the point where her NHS full sick pay would have halved, which is after six months. Because she won’t be receiving NHS sick pay, when we start paying we’ll pay the full amount she’s insured for.

Here’s a summary of how her pay and benefits would work:

Last month in job £2,570.00 NHS pay
Sabbatical months 1-6 (deferred period) £0
Sabbatical months 7-12 £1958.33
Time when Dr Lee would have been back at work £1,958.33 Royal London Income Protection

Dr Jones works as a partner in a GP practice. He's been doing NHS work for over five years and also does private consultancy work. As a partner, he’s not employed by the NHS but he is covered by the same sick pay arrangement, and eligible for our special deferred period arrangement for his NHS earnings. He has no sick pay arrangement for his private practice earnings.

NHS annual earnings £40,000
Private practice annual earnings £60,000
Total annual earnings £100,000
Total maximum allowable income £56,500 (£4,708.33 a month)

Dr Jones splits the maximum allowable income between two covers:

  • £23,500 to cover his NHS income, with a 52-week deferred period
  • £33,000 to cover his private practice earnings, with a 4-week deferred period

Here’s what Dr Jones would receive:

  Total net income Royal London 4-week cover Royal London 52-week cover Total income
Full sick pay from NHS only (months 1-6) £2,570.00 £2,138.33 £0 £4,708.33
Half sick pay from NHS only (months 7-12) £1,436.67 £2,750 £521.66 £4,708.33
No sick pay (month 13 onwards) £0 £2,750 £1,958.33 £4,708.33

These figures are based on our understanding of tax law in England and Wales for the tax year 2023/24. Final figures may be affected by individual circumstances. 

Further information