NHS Pension Scheme

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2009 Health Care Service Group Conference
12 December 2008
Carried as Amended

The NHS Pension Scheme dates back to 1948. It is a statutory, occupational (connected to NHS employment) scheme.

The NHS Pension Scheme is a voluntary scheme in which members can join at any time during their employment within the NHS. The normal retirement age is 60 for both men and women, although there are provisions for those with special status to retire from age 55 without reduction in pension benefits.

Unfortunately those staff outsourced from the NHS or those employed by other providers do not have rights of access to this important benefit. Many cleaners, for example, working for contractors devote their working lives to infection control work, but often are forced into early retirement and poverty, due to the lack of pension provisions.

That private contractors operating within the NHS are under no legal obligation whatsoever to provide a pension scheme for their staff to which they themselves make an employer’s contribution. After 25 years of privatisation in the NHS, Conference believes that this situation is completely unacceptable and is highly disadvantageous to our members on two key grounds, these being:

1.That members employed by private contractors have as much moral entitlement to a fair pension scheme as staff who are directly employed by the NHS, noting that the NHS Superannuation Scheme compares, at least, favourably with just about any other occupational pension scheme in operation in the UK.

2.The fact that Private Contractors are not required to provide an occupational pension scheme to which they themselves contribute (TUPE transfers from in-house to private contractors excepted) means that they hold a considerable and unfair advantage over in-house teams when bidding to retain service contracts.

It is mooted that, in the move to other models of provision, (e.g. ‘social enterprise models’), the Government may allow GPs, surgeons and nursing staff to be retained within the NHS Pension Scheme.

Conference calls on the SGE to campaign and take all appropriate actions to allow for all those in the NHS family delivering services in NHS facilities or services, to have access to the NHS Scheme in the same way as other employers can, for example, gain ‘admitted body’ status to the Local Government Pension Scheme.

Conference also request that a full report on the progress of this campaign be brought back to Health Conference 2010.