Mainly kayaking photographs taken on the Isle of Man and beyond.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Kayaking Isle of Man - Pensions!

There seems to be allot of conflict and disagreement around at the moment. Disagreements can seem very simple the less you think about them. But take time to examine both sides of the argument and usually you will find that there is no clear cut right answer. On Tuesday the Isle of Man Government began to examine proposals to seriously reduce the pension rights of health workers (nurses, doctors, physiotherapists etc.) If I don't take too long to think about this then it's easy to adopt the stance taken by many of my colleagues that this is an outrage. Certainly I have paid into my pension for 20 years expecting one thing, but I may well receive a much reduced pension entitlement on retiring if these proposals are adopted. There is no doubt that this amounts to "misselling a pension" and I would be right to be angry about it. But if I take a minute to look at the other side of the argument then things become less clear. With the current global financial situation, and increasing life expectancy, can the Isle of Man Government afford to pay me my current pension entitlement? And if they do will others in the private sector have to pay more in tax whilst their own pensions remain meager in comparison? Now things seem less clear.
As with all decisions around health care, there is one hard and fast rule which if applied will lead you to the right answer. Put the patient first and ensure that patient well being is preserved. Many of my health care colleagues will leave the Island and take their pensions to the UK, thus preserving their value, if the Manx Government pushes ahead and cuts our pension entitlement. I have not decided whether to do this yet or not, but it is certainly one way of preserving my pension as it is. Well, not to worry, doctors and nurses can be replaced? Well, I don't think that they can. Who would apply for a job and devalue their pensions. I don't think we will be able to recruit anyone in these circumstances. We will become very short staffed and dependent on temporary, expensive locum staff. Under these circumstances, whereby the quality and availability of health services deteriorated, I would have to leave my job at the Nobles Hospital, thus exacerbating the situation. I think others would also leave as staff and patient morale fell. The Manx patient would undoubtedly suffer!
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