Cost of living forces hospital worker to opt out of NHS pension  

Addenbrooke's Cambridge cost of living crisis

Addenbrooke's , Cambridge, where a cost of living crisis has forced a staff member to opt out of NHS pension. - Credit: Archant

Hospital bosses heard how a member of staff at Addenbrooke’s Hospital chose to opt out of the NHS pension scheme because they were struggling with the cost of living. 

The story was shared at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s (CUH) directors’ meeting on July 13. 

A representative of junior doctors at Addenbrooke’s told the meeting that he had seen a colleague filling out the forms to opt out of the NHS pension. 

He explained that he had asked why they were doing this, and said they told him they were doing so because they were struggling with the cost of living. 

Earlier in the meeting, Roland Sinker, chief executive at CUH, highlighted that he recognised the cost-of-living pressures being faced by staff in Cambridge, as well as the difficulties finding affordable places to live in the city. 

He set out six initial priority areas that he said the trust was giving a “great deal of attention” to. 

These are: accommodation; travel and transport – commuting to and from work; nourishment and hydration; spaces; hybrid working; and market forces, the cost of living and working in Cambridge. 

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Mr Sinker said: “The lack of availability and affordability of accommodation for staff continues to be concerning and we are seeing an impact on our ability to recruit and retain staff. 

“An accommodation support officer is now in post to provide practical advice and assistance and continue to source accommodation in the local community. 

“To support staff travelling to work the trust has introduced a reduction in the daily charge for staff to park onsite (until March 31, 2024). 

“Staff now do not have to pay to use the local park and ride buses and further work is underway to reduce the cost of bus routes from elsewhere. 

“The issue of cost of living and working in Cambridge for NHS staff has been raised in the House of Commons by Anthony Browne, MP for South Cambridgeshire, following a visit to CUH and discussion about the impact it is having on staff.” 

Another report presented at the meeting said the average staff turnover rate at the trust was 14.3 percent, the highest rate for three years. 

Nursing and midwifery staff had the highest increase in the last few months of 3.3 percent to 14.7 per cent.