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Pension Reforms may cause Recruitment and Retention Issues

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MP’s have issued a stern warning that the continued confusion in pension reforms could have a severe effect on both recruitment and retention of NHS healthcare workers.  It is feared that the new reforms recommended by the Hutton Review will undermine staff confidence as to the value of their pensions.

The Public Accounts Committee evaluated the 2007-2008 reforms to the public sector pensions and the impact these had on staff.  The committee have criticised The Treasury for not taking this into account and said that they would be wise not to implement the new reforms planned for later in the year without ensuring that they have the support of stakeholders such as GP’s.

The potential consequences of continued changes – which include increased contributions by staff into their pension fund – are potentially severe.  This includes the proposed handing of budgets to GP commissioning consortia, which could affect the ability of some NHS employees entering the public sector pension scheme.

All eyes will be watching to see if these recommendations are acted upon.  The committee says it is essential that The Treasury clearly defines how the reforms are rolled out to ensure that stability is returned to employee’s public pension schemes.

Dr Andrew Dearden, chairman of the British Medical Association’s pension committee added his concerns to that of the Public Accounts Committee.  He says that the government needs to be very careful to assess the potential consequences of further tinkering with the NHS pension scheme. 

He says that further staff contribution rises or increase in retirement age could not only threaten the ability of the NHS to recruit, but also in its ability to hold onto its senior staff members.

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