How will an increased pension age affect you and the NHS? The NHS Working Longer Review wants to hear from you!
The new Public Service Pensions Act 2013 means that from 2015 NHS staff will have a normal pension age equal to their state pension age. Whilst some staff are protected from this change, up to 70% of the workforce will now have a pension age of between 65 and 68 depending on their date of birth1. This could increase again in the future if Government raises the state pension age further.
The NHS Working Longer Review has been set up to consider the possible impact of a raised pension age: how will the NHS be able to provide a high quality service with an ageing workforce? It is a joint review between the NHS Employers, NHS Trade Unions and the Health Departments for England, Wales and Scotland.
The issue of NHS staff working longer is a contentious one: some staff think they will not be able to work longer and some NHS organisations are not prepared for an ageing workforce. However, the Public Service Pensions Act 2013 is now law and the NHS must be ready to meet the challenge.
We have already seen an increase in the number of people working longer, they are able to do so through improved health and wellbeing policies, increased flexible working and retirement opportunities and even changing careers. Research evidence shows that work can be beneficial for health and that older workers are as capable as younger workers. To enable employees to work longer, it is vital that employers put in place practices that will facilitate this. People and job roles are different and some staff may find working longer more challenging than others, employers in the NHS will therefore need to find solutions to suit these differing work needs.
The Review is now seeking evidence from NHS organisations, trade unions, NHS employees and interested stakeholders to identify examples of good practice that enable staff to continue working. We know there are examples of imaginative and innovative policies being put into practice on a local level that are not widely known about but could be used within other NHS organisations. We are keen to hear your examples, suggestions or ideas that you feel we should consider as part of this review. In addition, we would like to hear about any issues and/or barriers that may make working to a higher pension age more difficult.
The review would value your feedback on the following key questions:
1. What happens in your organisation that makes it easier for people to stay longer in work?
2. What makes working longer more difficult and why?
3. Are there special issues for particular groups of staff?
4. What do you think could be changed to support people working longer and how?
Please also feel free to provide other evidence or information that you think will be relevant to the review, even if not mentioned in one of the questions above.
Evidence about the proven effectiveness of policies and practices, whilst not a requirement, would be gratefully received if it is available.
How to give evidence?
We would welcome responses from employing organisations, staff side groups, in partnership or separately as well as from individuals and external groups with an interest in this area. Using the cover sheet at the end of this letter please send us your response in writing, preferably by email to email@example.com. Written submissions should be sent to: Elaine Douse, Call for Evidence, Working Longer Review, St Andrew's House, GR, Regent Road, Edinburgh EH1 3DG.
An electronic version of this letter and the cover sheet is available at www.msg.scot.nhs.uk/headlines
The deadline for submissions is 5pm on Thursday 5th September 2013.
What will happen next?
The review group will consider all submissions and look for themes and common topics and issues. We may wish to follow up responses with some organisations to understand better the employment practices that are in operation and opinions expressed. Our findings from this exercise will then feed into the final report of the Working Longer Review which will make observations and recommendations to NHS Staff Council and the Health Departments. You can keep in touch with the review and find out more about our work at www.nhsemployers.org/wlr and also via our Twitter feed @NHS_WLR.
We hope that you share our view of the importance of this issue and look forward to hearing from you.
Head of Nursing UNISON
NHS Working Longer Review
Kevin McAleese CBE
Chair for NHS employers
NHS Working Longer Review
Email: Elaine Douse