The average nurse will pay more than £7,600 more towards their pensions under the latest planned changes to the NHS scheme, calculations by Nursing Times suggest.
The Department of Health has produced a ready reckoner to show the impact on NHS staff of planned rises to contribution rates next financial year.
Under the changes, no-one earning under £26,557 will pay more than they do currently, but those on salaries of between £30,000 and £60,000 will pay up to £864 extra in 2012-13.
According to NHS Information Centre statistics, the average nurse earns £31,700 a year and is aged between 45 and 49. The DH’s pensions calculator shows that a 47 year old earning the average salary will pay £380.40 more in pension contributions next year.
If the contribution rates stayed at the same levels after 2012-13 and the nurse retired aged 67 – as per the government’s plans – they will pay £7,608 more in total than they would do under the current pension scheme.
However, this is likely to be even higher if contribution rates increase again from 2013, as they are due to.
Unite lead officer for nursing Barrie Brown said this confirmed the rises would affect the “overwhelming majority” of nurses. Health secretary Andrew Lansley has previously claimed next year’s increases would be “distributed among higher earners” in the NHS.
As well as paying more, nurses will no longer benefit from a final salary scheme and by 2046 will not be able to take their pensions until the age of 68. The government announced a “final offer” to unions on the pension scheme just before Christmas.
The Royal College of Nursing council will next week ask members to vote on whether to accept the government’s offer and will hold a special meeting on 28 February to discuss its “next steps”.