Health minister Ben Bradshaw accepted the deal for implementation from April 2008. Staff joining the NHS after that time will have a normal pension age of 65, with the right to take a pension after the age of 55.
Other changes include:
- earnings related, tiered contributions so that higher paid staff pay more fairly for the benefits they draw.
- cost-sharing arrangements between employers and staff to limit the cost of the scheme.
- survivor benefits for all nominated partners - not just spouses and civil partners – which will now be payable for life.
- new purchase facility for members who wish to increase their benefits.
- step-down arrangements so that final salary staff approaching retirement can transfer to less demanding duties without loss of pension entitlement.
- more flexibility for members who wish to convert part of their pension into a lump sum on retirement.
RCN general secretary Dr Peter Carter said: ‘We are very pleased with the new arrangements. The RCN 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.’
Chairman of the BMA’s pensions committee Dr Andrew Dearden said: ‘Our priorities were based on a consultation with BMA members last year. They told us that being able to retire at 60, and retain the final salary scheme, were the most important elements of the NHS pension scheme. Under this deal, they keep both, and get extra benefits.’
The agreement applies to England and Wales. NHS staff in Scotland and Northern Ireland are being consulted on separate proposals.
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