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RCN welcomes NHS pension reforms

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has hailed the changes to NHS pensions unveiled by the Department of Health.

Nurses will keep their final salary retirement schemes, and all employees who join the NHS until April next year will be able to retire at 60. Those joining the service after that point will be able to claim their pension at 65.

RCN general secretary Dr Peter Carter said he is "very pleased" with the outcome.

He added: "We are delighted to say that, four years on, current nurses will keep their normal pension age of 60 and both existing and new nurses will have a pension based on a final salary.

"The RCN and other trade unions representing healthcare workers set out to reach a sustainable long-term agreement with NHS Employers that would provide security in retirement for NHS nurses, hope for future NHS nurses and value for money.

"This agreement does all three."

Health minister Ben Bradshaw said: "The new NHS Pensions Scheme strikes the right balance between the security that staff deserve in their retirement and affordability for the taxpayer.

"The existing scheme has provided well for staff, but has changed little over the past 60 years.

"It is right that we recognise the vast shift in working patterns since the 1940s, the reform of the tax regime for pensions in recent years, and changes to employment legislation."

Department of Health

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Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"Would anyone be happy to look into the situation for practice nurses who were not allowed to join the NHS pension scheme as they were not considered to be HNS employees. Now we are in the scheme we are being penalised for a break in service!! We had no choice but are not considered a special case" -  Frances Switala, Manchester

"Yes I am pleased with the reforms" - Name and address supplied

"The police can retire in their forties, and yet nurses who have a physically and mentally demanding job will have to wait until they are 65, if they make it! Could a policemand or fireman work fulltime in the acute field until they were 65? I think not. Perhaps it is because that these professions are male dominated that they have terms and agreements which are more humane and civilised' - Jackie Fitzpatrick, Perth

"Simply - a big YES" - Name and address supplied

"Yes I am very pleased with this outcome" - Cynthia Abdi

"We seem to be falling further and further behind on pay despite Agenda for Change, which at first seemed to be the answer to resolving all future pay negotiations. I think there are very few people that have truly gained from this system. If they then changed the rules on the pension system we would have so little reward in the profession that it will have an effect on long term recruitment and retention. Also nurses who worked part time, usually due to family commitments, were unable to join the pension system until September 1997. We really are very poor at representing ourselves and are always pleased with small victories when we deserve far more, we could learn a great deal from other professions such as Police Officers and Teachers who are streets ahead of the Nursing profession with pay and conditions. By not fighting for these conditions I feel we are at risk of under valuing  our profession and being valued less by others." - Name and address supplied