The flexible retirement initiative was launched in July 2000 to ensure that the NHS makes the most of valuable experienced staff at the same time as enabling them to extend their earning lives. Flexible retirement has been included as evidence for organisations in the Improving Working Lives Standard, which all trusts should have achieved by April 2003. The Flexible Careers Schemes for general practitioners and hospital doctors can also be used to support individuals in taking flexible retirement.
Two guidance booklets, in the series Working Lives Flexing Retirement, one for staff and one for managers are available on the Improving Working Lives website (www.doh.gov.uk/iwl). Two more in the series planned for GPs and hospital doctors are due to be published in June. There is also a Flexing Retirement Helpline (01253 774440) for all National Health Service staff who want to review their retirement options and how they will affect their pension.
Data are not available on how many National Health Service professionals have taken up flexible retirement options.