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I retired after 34 years of NHS service. Now I’m back thanks to Retire and Return

01 Oct 2019

Here at the Trust, we take retaining the most talented staff members very seriously. While we focus on targeting every age group to achieve this, it is often a challenge to retain those who are over the age of 55.

While the typical retirement age in the UK is 65, many take up the option to retire early. Doing that can suit a lot of people but for those who are eager to return back to work, some are unsure if they’d be welcome back to their original employers, and therefore seek work in different sectors.

Pleasingly, we do have cases of staff members who have been in service at the Trust for a number of years and return after a lengthy spell away. Meet Patrick (Pat) McKee.

Pat worked for the Trust for 34 years as a Modern Matron before deciding to retire early, in May 2016. At the time, he took the decision to retire because he received a Mental Health Officer status, enabling him to retire at 55.

It took him five months to consider returning to work after spending time enjoying his hobbies such as restoring his motorcycle, something he still continues to do. But he wanted to fill a void with a view of working part time, and in surroundings he felt familiar with.

“Having been retired for five months, I was beginning to look at some part time opportunities, as I didn’t want to work full time again,” Pat states. “I really liked the idea of reducing my hours and working part time in preparation for full retirement.”

This is where the Trust’s Retire and Return scheme comes in. It is a bold initiative which leaves the door open to those who wish to return to work after an employee’s decision to retire. For Pat, he was approached to apply for a part time Transitional Manager post for the Broadmoor Redevelopment team, supporting and facilitating the transfer to the new builds. In October 2016, he was successful in his application.

What lured Pat to this opportunity? He recalls: “Prior to retirement I had been the nursing directorate’s representative on the redevelopment programme, so I held a lot of information from early in the project, which left with me when I retired – but now available again, my knowledge is proving useful when important decisions are being made.”

Nearly three years on, and Pat still enjoys being Transitional Manager, and highly recommends Retire and Return to others, stating that it “provides a platform that enables individuals to gradually reduce their hours in preparation for full retirement, whilst also maintaining links with the working world.”

“The Retire and Return scheme really appealed to me as it provided an opportunity to return to working within an environment I knew and had enjoyed throughout my career and to again experience being part of a team,” Pat concludes.