Supporting older workers

NHS Working longer review

The Working Longer Group (WLG) was established to review the implications of the NHS workforce working to a later, raised retirement age. It was a partnership group of national recognised NHS trade unions, NHS employers and health department representatives. The Working Longer steering group reported directly to the NHS Staff Council and its executive. 

Please note: The NHS Staff Council has agreed the NHS Working Longer Group has fulfilled its purpose and has therefore formally ended the role of the group. The resources produced by the group will remain available for organisations to use. The NHS Staff Council and its sub groups will take forward any future work.

What has the group achieved?

In October 2014, the WLG was formally commissioned to deliver a body of work based on the 11 recommendations made in our preliminary findings and recommendations report which was submitted to the health departments on 3 March 2014.  We are working with partner organisations and through our task and finish groups to deliver this work. 

We have brought together a library of research and websites to help employers and employees further understand the implications of working to a raised retirement age.  We have also produced a range of tools and resources to assist employers and employees. Our tools and resources include:

  • The age awareness toolkit – helping organisations assess and action plan their readiness for the opportunities and challenges of an ageing workforce.
  • A resource for managers and for staff and their representatives – helping to understand the challenges and opportunities an ageing workforce and working to a raised retirement age might present. 
In 2013, the group undertook an audit of existing research into the impact of working beyond aged 60 on behalf of the group. At the same time the group ran a national call for evidence to identify issues that could make working to a higher retirement age more difficult, and to capture practices enabling staff to work longer. A summary report of findings was produced by researchers at Newcastle University.

The ageing workforce and your organisation

Rachael Charlton, director of HR and organisational development at East Cheshire NHS Trust and Nicola Lee, employment relations adviser at the Royal College of Nursing, who are both members of the WLG discuss in our short video the challenges and opportunities associated with an ageing NHS workforce. They also discuss what you can do now to prepare your organisation to support staff to work longer safely. 

Working Longer Group: The ageing workforce and your organisation from NHS Employers on Vimeo.

Why was the group established? 

The NHS Pension Scheme proposed final agreement included the provision that for pension accruals post 2015 in the 2015 NHS Pension Scheme, normal pension age (NPA) will be set equal to state pension age. This means that each scheme member will have an individual NPA dependent on their date of birth.   It was therefore agreed to set up the WLG to address the impact of working longer in the NHS, with particular reference to staff in frontline and physically demanding roles including emergency services.  


You can get in touch should you want any further information. The WLG has its own branding and outputs from the group are clearly branded as WLG and are available on the NHS Employers website. These WLG web pages are hosted by NHS Employers on behalf of the group. 

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