The impact of an ageing workforce on Allied Health Professionals

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2012 Health Care Service Group Conference
15 December 2011

Conference believes that the NHS needs to attract and retain the best Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) to ensure good quality services to patients. However, the AHP workforce is ageing, with a fall in the youngest age group and a rise in age groups of 45 and over. This creates difficulties in attracting new staff, since fewer vacancies are available, as well as problems for AHPs who are having to work ever longer whilst coping with physically demanding jobs.

With the retirement age increasing, AHPs are concerned about the impact of the ageing workforce on their health, patient care and the career progression of newly qualified AHPs. In addition, with service cuts and downbanding of posts, there are no alternative posts requiring less physical effort for staff to progress to as they near retirement.

This conference calls on the Service Group Executive to:

1)liaise with relevant bodies such as Partnership for Occupational Safety and Health in Healthcare (POSHH – a sub committee of the NHS Staff Council) to initiate discussions about the occupational health implications of an ageing AHP workforce;

2)ensure that the importance of career planning and career progression for therapy staff is highlighted in UNISON’s “Our NHS Our Future” campaign;

3)work with NHS Employers to explore options for less physically demanding roles for AHPs having to work longer as the retirement age increases.