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Nurses and healthcare assistants forced to retire

Eleven nurses and 21 healthcare assistants have been forced to retire by an East Midlands primary care trust despite the government’s plans to scrap the default age for retirement from October next year.

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The group are part of 68 frontline community health staff, all aged over or approaching 65, who have been given six months’ notice by Leicestershire County and Rutland PCT after it changed its retirement policy in June. That was just weeks before the government launched its consultation proposing to stop employers from being able to force their employees to retire at 65 from October 2011.

The nurses involved work both full time and part time in community nursing, hospital nursing, school nursing and health visiting roles. At least two have asked to remain in post but have had their requests turned down by the PCT and are set to appeal with the backing of the Royal College of Nursing.

A PCT spokeswoman said the move was not a cost cutting exercise and the level of service provided in the community would be maintained. She added that the PCT would review and recruit to vacancies that “needed to be filled” and said the nursing staff involved were all band 5 or 6.

Matthew O’Callaghan, a councillor at Melton Borough Council, in which five of the affected community nurses work,  said he was concerned that nurses with high levels of experience were being removed.

“Suddenly they have been told they are going to be cleared out and at the same time the government and the NHS are saying they want to have a more flexible approach to retirement,” he said.

In an anonymous statement one of the 11 nurses said the change in PCT policy “cannot be unrelated” to the government’s plans and was “an attempt to shed staff and save money, while they are still able”.

Readers' comments (5)

  • The same is being done at Surrey And Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. The worst thing is the impersonal letter being sent to these staff. Nurses are not valued and respected by their employers. The government should take action now, why wait for October 2011?

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  • Same in Taunton, part of what seems to be a concerted effort to demoralise and undervalue staff, and take much needed expert nursing skills away from patients. We frequently hear the phrase "take the patient out of the equation". The Government needs to stop opting out by saying local trusts are responsible for assessing and providing local services and skill mix regardless of central ideals that say the patient is the centre. The patient matters not - perceived short term financial savings are all that matters. Never mind the increased ill health and costs this policy will cause very shortly.

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  • The same is happening at St Helens & Knowsley Teaching Hospitals and Five Boroughs Partnership. Staff are being forced to leave purely on the grounds of AGE. We are loosing talented, skilled and motivated nursing staff. In the interests of equality.... lets reintroduce AGEISM into patient care and see how far we get.

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  • The same is happening in Buckinghampshire hospitalsNHS trust. The policy states all coming up to retirement are to receive 6 months notice and people are to be prepared for retirement. Here in this trust some people received notice after their birthdays. It is seen as a dismissal.Money needs to saved we are told.We are also invited to apply for a job after retirement but with a new contract and lowere pay.

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  • The same is happening in Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust. These staff members have a wealth of knowledge and experience from whom we all learn, and many older patients prefer being nursed by more mature staff members who they can relate to.

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