No ‘one fits all’ solution to working longer in NHS

“It will take flexibility, co-operation and a lot of hard work to meet the challenge of staff working longer in the NHS” said Christina McAnea, UNISON Head of Health today (3 March).  The union campaigned against the Government plans to link retirement age with state pension age and has made it clear throughout its involvement with the Working Longer Review that it wants to mitigate the impact on both staff and patients.
Christina McAnea, went on to say:
“A large percentage of the existing workforce – 70% – can expect to see their retirement age increase to 68 years old and this presents a massive challenge.  Through the Working Longer Review we have tried to lessen the impact of these changes on staff and on patients.  The review has got to grips with some very tricky problems but they are right to recognise the need for more work to be done.
“With such a diverse workforce, representing so many jobs, in a huge variety of locations, there is no-one-size fits-all, quick fix solution.  For example, ambulance staff have the highest sickness rates in the NHS, which reflects the serious demands and pressures of the job. Working longer in these circumstances is not straightforward and the health service needs to open to innovative ideas.
“Staff are anxious to know the options that are available to them and the consequences of any choices they make. It is essential that staff and unions are fully involved and kept informed at every step.”