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OPINION

'This attack on pensions adds insult to injury'

  • 49 Comments

Nurses whom I have met since joining Nursing Times have been less than delighted with many aspects of their working lives.

Low pay, little respect, abuse, lack of consultation, scratchy uniforms and poor or expensive car parking administrated by over-zealous attendants top my straw poll of nurses’ sources of malcontent. The NHS pension scheme was the one thing they considered both an incentive and a thank you. After toiling at a job they still loved - however challenging - the ability to retire early enough to enjoy the fruits of their labour was, they felt, their just reward.

Abolishing final salary pension schemes is going to be a blow for many nurses, coming at a time when nursing already feels like something of a punchbag, with frontline cuts, pressure to perform under huge duress and constant media scrutiny of care.

The majority of nurses are women, many of whom take career breaks to raise families then return to the profession and work their way up into senior management positions. Coming to those posts later in life means they bring insight and life experience, which is hugely valuable in a career where people skills are essential. Yet these are the nurses who will be most severely affected by these changes, and it’s hugely unfair that the investment of time and energy in their later careers will not be repaid in full.

Also on the topic of rewards, this issue contains the Patient Safety Awards winners’ brochure. After the ceremony, one winner told me that I didn’t realise just how important these awards were to his team and thanked me for my involvement.

On the contrary, after seeing the finalists during the judging process and the winners’ euphoria, I know the significance of these awards. We at Nursing Times and our sister publication Health Service Journal are honoured to be recognising those achievements making vital improvements to patient safety. Congratulations to the 15 winners and all the finalists of our Patient Safety Awards.

  • 49 Comments

Readers' comments (49)

  • it also has to be remembered that nurses do not receive any perks on the job as do many other employees in the private sector.

    it seems as though nurses will go from being middle classs professionals to poor workers and retire as such

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  • every time i read a comment like this on these forums it makes me sick

    this government should be ashamed of themselves.. thay have not been in power a year yet and the are destroying the nhs on a daily basis

    i read on one forum of a nurse leaving the nhs to work at aldi!!!
    better pay and working conditions, less stress etc etc

    soon at this rate there will be no nhs as we know it and no nursing staff left or any wanting to join

    hope the govt are proud of themselves and to all of you who voted in these idiots..hope you can sleep at night!!!

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  • the government are so determined and refuse to listen to the experts, so that maybe they should be left to get on with whatever they want to do and see where it leads them then they can provide their own solutions to any problems they have created. the professionals could emigrate as there are opportunities elsewhere which might be more rewarding!

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  • I am training to be a student nurse and have already seen the difference in working conditions between NHS placements and private placements. I always thought when I would qualify that I would go straight into the NHS with the NHS pension being one of the main incentives for this. I want to be a nurse because I want to help people, but now am seriously thinking that I will be looking for jobs in the private sector when I qualify. I can still help people in the private sector but with alot less stress, better pay, perks and pension! Its such a shame as I feel so sorry for nurses currently working for the NHS and it really puts the next generation of nurses off working for them too!

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  • in reply to anon 17-mar 12:49

    work in the private sector, the nhs is going down the toilet and will be privatised in a few years anyway!!!

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  • the failure of our nhs will lie solely at the door of the tory/lib con men

    our only hope is to get rid of these idiots before its too late!!!!

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  • Don't work in the private sector. Fight for the NHS! For years, and with successive governments, Nurses have endured erosion to our pay and conditions, pensions and ability to look after our patients. Our answer? Emigrate, join the private sector or change profession. It's pathetic! How about actually taking action to fight for our patients and our profession?! This is OUR NHS and worth the fight.

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  • Maybe we should remember it is the result of the irresponsible spending of the Labour Government which has put us in the position we are all in and it's the present Governme nt who are left to sort this mess out.
    No matter whose to blame, we can't carry on the way we have been. We are all being made responsible.

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  • Margaret McFadden | 19-Mar-2011 10:12 am

    maybe you are pathetic, it doesn't mean everybody else is. such arrogance is what makes others want to get out!

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  • besides it seems to contradict what you have said in your previous comments.

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