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NHS probe launched on effects of raised pensions age

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The Working Longer Review – a group of NHS employers, trade unions and health officials – has launched a consultation to explore the effects of an ageing workforce on the provision of health services.

 

The consultation is in response to the new Public Service Pensions Act 2013, which has raised the age NHS workers, teachers and civil servants can collect their pension from 60 years to 65. 

From 2015, the Working Longer Review predicts that up to 70% of the NHS workforce will have a pension age of between 65 and 68, potentially placing a strain on the quality of healthcare.

“This is an important piece of work that will help the NHS to meet the needs of the ageing workforce and continue delivering excellent care,” said Gill Bellord, director of employment relations and reward at the NHS Employers organisation. 

“It is really important that employment practice enables staff to work successfully and productively at all ages”.

In May, the Working Longer Review commissioned the University of Bath to undertake an audit of existing research.

Key findings include: 

 

  • The average age of NHS employees is projected to rise from 43.7 years to 47 by 2023
  • For staff to remain productively employed, there needs to be a good fit between the demands of their job, working environment, personal circumstances and capability
  • NHS workers have a poor awareness of work, retirement and pension options
  • Line managers need training and support to manage older employees
  • Older employees in good health, with up-to-date skills sets perform as well as their younger counterparts

 

The NHS has come under public pressure over its ability to cope with increasing demands on the UK health system. 

Last week, the world’s fourth largest employer faced accusations that emergency patients were not being adequately cared for due to a shortage of A&E doctors and beds. Today, senior doctors have asked NHS patients to pay top-up fees for certain services, arguing the state cannot provide everything for free.

The Working Longer Review aims to ensure that the raised pensions age does not hinder the quality of healthcare. It is gathering information from academic research, NHS organisations, trade unions, NHS employees and interested stakeholders to identify examples of good employment practice and policies.

Submissions will be sought until 5 September 2013.