Sunday, July 16, 2006

When I'm sixty-four

Shocking news in this week's Nursing Standard. Tony Blair has confirmed that private companies who take over services in the NHS do not have to offer the same pension cover as the NHS pension scheme.
What this means is that if you work for the NHS, and are paying towards, what you have calculated to be, a reasonable pension for your retirement, you are going to lose big time if a private company takes over the part of the NHS where you work. Your pension will be frozen if you are no longer a NHS employee. All you can do is try to find another job in the NHS, along with all the other people in the same situation. You may have to move to another part of the country, away from your family and friends.
Or you can stay in your old job, working for a private company, who are under no obligation whatsoever, to offer you a pension scheme that is in any way comparable to the one you've left. That is if they offer a pension scheme at all. You might just be told to make your own arrangements.
Is anybody safe? Who knows what will happen in ten years time? Already, private companies are contracting to do routine operations. Will they want to take over the running of whole hospitals entirely?
Mind you, how are private companies going to attract good staff from the NHS? Let's just hope that recruitment difficulties will cause these enterprises to whither and die.

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