Full pension flexibility is needed to help nursing staff throughout the health service, the RCN has said in response to proposed changes.
The Department of Health and Social Care has announced plans to change NHS pension rules to allow senior staff to take on extra shifts without losing out financially.
While the announcement focuses on doctors, who have been refusing to do overtime shifts as changes to the annual tax-free allowance meant surprise bills were cancelling out additional earnings, nurses could be affected too.
‘Nurses, who make up the largest staff group in NHS organisations, will expect to see the benefits of these reforms applying to them. But more people should see the advantages of these considerable changes than just high-earning doctors managing their tax liabilities,’ said RCN National Officer Nicola Lee.
‘We know that the taxation problem affects very senior nurses, but other members have also told us they’ve considered leaving the NHS scheme because they cannot afford payments even though they know this puts them at a disadvantage when they retire. Yet, they feel they have no other choice.’
Following the announcement, the DHSC has said that the proposed changes will apply to senior clinicians, including nurses, but the RCN wants this confirmed in writing. It also wants to see pension flexibility for lower earners working in the health service. ‘The RCN wants these changes to go further. We want full pension flexibility for all NHS staff to make the health service’s pension scheme attractive and affordable to all,’ added Ms Lee.
‘We look forward to confirmation in writing about who exactly is set to gain and how they can widen these changes so that they help to tackle the worsening nursing workforce crisis.’