Older Physiotherapists and Uncertain Futures

Deborah Roy, Andrew Weyman, Alan Buckingham

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Recent rises in public sector employee pension age have led to speculation over the impacts on employees and service delivery. This issue comes into sharp focus amongst Paramedics working in the UK's National Health Service. Paramedics will experience some of the largest increases in pension age. Legislative changes introduced in 2011, mean that NHS will rise to, 68 years by 2028),. Ambulance staff are exposed to high levels of psychological stress, working long hours as well as physiological demands associated with lifting, carrying and pushing patients,, in the context of unprecedented increases in the demand for accident and emergency services.. Key policy questions surround whether older paramedics have the physiological and psychological capacity meet high job demands into their late 60’s, whether older workers should be expected to the same job demands as their younger colleagues and what changes to the organisation of work might support the retention of older paramedics. The paper reports on initial findings form a 48 month research programme, funded by the UK Medical Research Council, that is designed to address these and related questions. Topics discussed include managerial and employee perspectives on these and related questions. The key debate currently is the degree to which the working lives of older paramedics could possibly be extended on one hand (providing the appropriate occupational health support and flexible working conditions are available), while also maintaining efficiency and delivering on increasingly demanding work schedules on the other. This study will draw upon a series of interviews and focus groups that have taken place as part of a three year study, from 2 large case studies based in NHS Ambulance Trusts in England. Preliminary findings will be reported grounded in the ambulance employee perspective, with a focus on perceived impact on physical and psychological health and well-being of working longer; what the push and pull factors are influencing decisions about early exit, retirement and pensions; attitudes towards shifts and alternative work configurations; and opportunities for redeployment.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology Conference ; Conference date: 14-04-2014 Through 16-04-2014


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