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Nurses to retire later and pay more into pensions


Chancellor George Osborne has announced spending plans that will force nurses and other public sector staff to pay £1.8bn a year more towards their pensions and retire later.

Although Mr Osborne said he was “protecting” the NHS by giving it a very small increase in funds in real terms, changes to pension rules apply to all public sector workers.

Those changes will involve making annual savings to the public sector pension scheme of £1.8bn over and above other planned cuts that will also be made by 2014-15.

The spending review states this will be made through “progressive changes to the level of employee contributions” equivalent to a 3 per cent rise, being phased in from April 2012.

The contribution increase would lead to a nurse at the midpoint of band 5 on the Agenda for Changepay scale, earning £24,554, having to pay an extra £737 a year towards their pension. The highest paid nurse consultant or modern matron would pay an extra £2,014.

Lord John Hutton is carrying out a review of public sector pensions for the government. His interim report earlier this month called for an end to final salary pensions, suggesting that schemes based on employees’ average career earnings would be fairer to the lower paid.

The changes come as 490,000 public sector job losses are forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility by 2014-15, while two million new jobs are forecast in the private sector by 2015-16.

News of those job losses leaked out on the same day public sector workers took part in a rally in central London, organised by the Trades Union Congress, to protest against cuts to the public sector.

Nursing Times interviewed nurses taking part in the protest.

Jill Hancock, a community mental health nurse and member of Unison, said: “I’m here to protest against these cuts on the NHS. It’s certainly not protected - we’re already encountering reconfiguration and there are going to be job losses. Where’s the protection in that?”

Simon Ward, a mental health nurse and palliative care project manager in Camden, said the cuts would “hit the most vulnerable [but] there are alternatives. The government is blaming those who are least able to do anything about it”.

“The white paper is actually a fundamental attack on the NHS. It’s giving control over our services to the private sector. It’s not just about nurses. It’s about the amount of commissioning of services that’s going to be given away to private companies.”

Mr Osborne said the predicted headcount reduction was “unavoidable when the country has run out of money” and would be partly achieved by deleting unfilled posts.


Readers' comments (27)

  • What a disingenous little toad you are George, you and the other vindictive swine in the Tory party who have delivered this horrendous budget and spending review. There is always an alternative and making half a million people unemployed is not going to help resolve the deficit, it will more likely mean a longer recession, more crime, more social disintegration and all the other evils that come with it.

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  • retirement should be job related as nursing is an exhausting and potentially health damaging occupation and the fact one works irregular shilfts all ones life means that one should have a few good years left after retirement to rebuild a social life and enjoy it. otherwise what is the point of life and of working?

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  • what happens after the age of 50 when you can no longer get a job and you have to wait until retirement age of 66? how do you get paid and what do you live on if your savings were wisely invested for longterm growth according to advice and most of which largely disappeared in the financial crisis and the rest no longer attracts any interest. who will pay your bills or give you credit? and what if when you get your pension at 66 it is insufficient to repay the debts. what if you have dependents? what chances are young childrent going to have in their life - not to mention they may later on have to support you and you have nothing left at the end to leave them? so much for a good standard of living and a much deserved relaxing retirement. you don't even get a gold wrist watch in nursing which you could sell!

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  • who cares, the lib/con politicians aren't going to suffer as a result of these cutbacks nor are the highest earners in the country!

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  • Yeah like **** I am! I'm sodding off to Oz where I plan to have a much better and more rewarding career, a much better lifestyle and a much better retirement than in this ****hole of a country!

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  • Good Luck in Oz Mike (beaut of a country shame about the bigots) - Having read some of your many many many comments, I would be willing to arrange a whip round towards your plane ticket, lol?

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  • without being nasty, the fact that the above has so much to say about so many of the articles, and some of whose comments are irrelevant to the article, also has something to say about the person and nurse!

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  • This whole debate has made me reassess my sense of the value public puts on its own service.Up until about 4 weeks ago i felt,as a band 6 of 24 years service in the nhs,relatively well paid, worth more, but at least making the average wage.However, the figure of 44k is being bandied about as the average income.By rough reckoning,this means that a support worker who does the high end compassion work, is three times less valuable than an estate agent, four times less than an advertising executive,or one match day of apremiership footballer.In retirement they can expect to live for a week on the price of a decent lunch for an investment banker.What a screwed up "big society" we inhabit,although entertainingly,the woman who told us 30 years ago that there was "no such thing as society", is now being cared for by compassionate nurses and supporting staff.I hope she can sleep and recover in comfort,because when its the turn of her ideological offspring, there won't be any goodwill and compassion left.

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  • How on earth the government thinks nurses are going to be fit enough to do the job in their 60's I really don't know. If a nurse is in a job that does not require manual handling they may be able to, but the majority will not. I am fit and walk miles every week, but I still get musculoskeletal aches & pains although have not had a specific injury; just cumulative wear & tear. I will not be nursing at 60 unless it is involves no manual handling, although I think those jobs will be few & far between. I will have to do something else to earn a living. The people making these decisions are clueless dickheads, who have absolutely no idea what we do.

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  • I am forty at the moment so by the time I reach 66 the goal posts will have moved again and we will be working till around 77 years of age!!

    Some of the nurses on the elderly care wards will be older than the patients!!

    I am having to think really hard about whether I want to continue raising my family in this country or whether it is time for me and mine to pick up our things and go.

    Go for it Mikey Boy enjoy yourself in Oz!!

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