Connect with us

News

Union members call for ballot on strike action over NHS pay deal

Published

on

Thousands of healthcare professionals are calling for a ballot on strike action over the proposed NHS pay deal.

Yesterday NHS staff in England were offered a 6.5% pay deal which spanned over three years but with the OBR forecasting that RPI inflation is set to increase by 9.6% over the next three years – the deal falls short of a genuine pay rise and will still see the majority of healthcare staff worse off than they are today.

Advertisement

The deal is fully funded by the Treasury. £4.2 billion of extra money will be given to the NHS in England, but unions have warned the government may withdraw this funding if the deal is not accepted – a move that many have calling scaremongering.

Similar deals are expected to be announced in Scotland and Wales.

The proposal ensures newly qualified healthcare professionals would be rewarded quickly with faster incremental progression but the proposed pay deal would see long-serving, experienced, staff rewarded the least – a tactic many claim is designed to divide the workforce.

Despite rumours, annual leave allowances and some unsociable hours payments are untouched but there are several issues that have been identified with the deal.

  • Increments not automatic nor based on experience but the fulfilment of unspecified criteria.
  • Unsociable hours for bands 1, 2 and 3 have been cut and changes suggested to ambulance trusts.
  • Long-serving and dedicated staff will see smaller rises than their more junior counterparts.
  • Support staff will see their wages capped after just two years in post.
  • The 6.5% rise is below the OBRs forecasted 9.6% rate of inflation.

Healthcare activists have taken to social media to calls for members to reject the deal and call on unions to instead ballot their members on the potential industrial action as the deal fails to make up for the 14% real-terms pay cut staff have experienced over the past 7 years.

Advertisement

Fourteen health care unions, including the Royal College of Nursing, Unison and the Royal College of Midwives have been negotiating the deal with NHS Employers since November 2017.

Presently, only the GMB is recommending its members reject the pay deal.

Kevin Brandstatter, GMB National Officer, said: “Jeremy Hunt’s promise of jam tomorrow is simply not good enough for NHS workers who, during the past eight years, have faced the biggest pay pinch in living memory.

“Long-serving, dedicated health service workers have had thousands of pounds swiped from their pay packets since 2010 by the Government’s cruel and unnecessary pay cap.

“After all that suffering is a below inflation pay rise the best they can offer?

“If it is, GMB will have to recommend that our members in NHS and Ambulance Trusts reject it.

“Since 2010, paramedics have lost an average of over £14,000, midwives £18,000 and staff nurse £14,500.

“This deal won’t allow them to claw any of that cash back – in fact, for longer serving, most loyal NHS workers the 6.5% increase over three years actually means a real terms pay cut.

“This deal doesn’t put things right and continues to punish those who have endured the pinch on pay.

“It does nothing to address the recruitment and retention crisis that is driving workers from our NHS and has left 100,000 positions unfilled.

“And it leaves the door being opened to new employees in the NHS being employed on worse terms and conditions than existing health service workers through third party shell companies is deeply troubling.”

You can see how the proposals would affect you here.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Comments

News

Mobile Stroke Unit will see patients receive life-saving care faster than ever

This the first time a Mobile Stroke Unit, a concept developed by the University of the Saarland in Germany, has been tested in the UK.

Published

on

Southend University Hospital is undertaking the trial of a Mobile Stroke Unit which will see patients receive life-saving care faster than ever.

The Mobile Stroke Unit, which has an onboard CT scanner and blood-testing equipment, will be staffed by stroke and imaging experts who can diagnose and start treating patients with suspected stroke at the scene.

Advertisement

This the first time a Mobile Stroke Unit, a concept developed by the University of the Saarland in Germany, has been tested in the UK.

Lead Stroke Consultant at Southend, Dr Paul Guyler explains its importance: “It’s widely known that ‘time is brain’ when it comes to stroke.  When a patient is suspected to have had a stroke a CT scan is essential to allow specialists to determine whether the patient has a blood clot in the brain, a bleed in the brain or something else. 

“The scan determines the diagnosis and what treatment happens next, and the Mobile Stroke Unit brings the scanner and the clinicians to the patient.”

Should a stroke be diagnosed, life-saving clot-busting medications can be administered to the patient quicker than ever before.

The Trust was offered the opportunity, to test the specialist ambulance in the community for a short period of time.  This was made possible because of the of the strong links between Consultant Interventional Neuroradiologist Professor Iris Grunwald, who works at the Trust and also holds the post of Director of Neuroscience at Anglia Ruskin University School of Medicine, and her colleagues at the University of the Saarland, Germany who are supplying the vehicle free of charge.

Advertisement

The unit will be based at Southend to ensure safety and governance standards are met and Professor Grunwald has been working with the Trust’s stroke team to put plans into place.  Anglia Ruskin University and the team will be evaluating the information collected during the project. 

Professor Grunwald said: “We know that Mobile Stroke Units work in a densely populated city through trials carried out in Germany, Norway, Australia and the USA.

“The data and learning we gather during the period the vehicle is in use will be valuable in understanding the benefits and challenges of using a Mobile Stroke Unit in a more suburban or rural area, like we have across mid and south Essex.”

While the project is limited to a three-month period, the stroke team are looking to the future and hope that the information they gather over the 12 weeks will help inform plans to develop stroke services across mid and south Essex.

Continue Reading

News

UNISON accepts 3% pay deal for Scotland

UNISON Scotland has accepted a 3% pay rise for NHS staff and demands for it to be implemented ‘without delay’.

Published

on

UNISON Scotland has accepted a 3% pay rise for NHS staff and demands for it to be implemented ‘without delay’.

During the union’s annual health conference in Brighton today, the union has said it will accept a pay deal which would secure an above-inflation 3% wage rise for the all NHS workers in Scotland and has called for it to be implemented with immediate effect.

Advertisement

Two weeks ago the Scottish Government tabled a ‘draft pay remit’ which proposes NHS staff earning less than £80,000 will receive 3% increase on pay and allowances.

UNISON Scotland has today announced that they will accept this proposed deal.

Tom Waterson, Chair of the UNISON Scotland Health Committee, said: “It was UNISON’s campaign in health, and across the public sector, which convinced the Scottish government to scrap the pay cap. It has tabled a pay remit paper that says all staff earning less than £80,000 are to receive an immediate 3% increase on pay and allowances, while talks craft a Scottish version of the NHS offer currently being consulted on in England.

“UNISON Scotland accepts the offer of 3% and demands that it‘s implemented without further delay. This agreement is an important first step to securing a Scottish deal for Scottish NHS workers, and we’re determined that it will deliver for our staff and roll back the pain of austerity.

“There appears to be a view that the 2018 pay award should be held off until the NHS pay offer is concluded in England. That is not acceptable. Shona Robison, cabinet secretary for health has committed to giving NHS workers a pay rise, the government has promised 3% and UNISON won’t allow anyone to delay the implementation of that rise.”

Advertisement

The pay remit is expected to be discussed over the next few days by Scotland’s health unions. If agreed it would secure a “no detriment” deal, ensuring that Scottish NHS workers would not be worse off than their English colleagues, who are currently being balloted on a pay offer in England.

UNISON says it won’t be balloting NHS Scotland members on the England offer, but has committed to do so on the final outcome of Scottish negotiations.

Continue Reading

News

‘Overworked’ healthcare assistants being expected to do the work of nurses

UNISON is calling on the government to address staffing issues so that HCAs feel properly supported and patients receive the care they deserve.

Published

on

Healthcare assistants are being expected to do the work of nurses without adequate training or proper supervision, according to survey results published today by UNISON.

Nearly two-thirds say they are being left to care for patients without enough support from doctors and nurses. The impact is that almost two in five of HCAs say they do not feel confident that those they are caring for are safe.

Advertisement

The findings are based on a survey of nearly 2,000 HCAs across the UK with the majority working in hospitals, as well as in mental health, in the community and in GP practices.

More than half say they have not received adequate training for performing tasks such as dressing the wounds of patients, giving out medication and changing stoma bags.

The report also highlights how nursing and other staff shortages are to blame for nearly three-quarters of HCAs having to take on extra work, according to UNISON.

Healthcare assistants say the situation has been worse this winter (2017/18) compared to the year before. Well over half say that they have picked up extra work due to nursing or clinical staff shortages. Also, two in five say they were asked to carry out tasks without adequate training more often than last winter, and over a third said they were asked to perform tasks without supervision more frequently than last year.

Janet, a healthcare assist from Croydon, said: “Trusts are trying to make use of HCAs, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can put patients at risk. I work as a maternity support officer on a band 3. There is a divide at the trust I work for between the people that have worked there a long time and those of us that are newer to the job. People who have been in the job longer have received different training that doesn’t cover everything we’re expected to do these days. Since I started two years ago there’s more pressure on us, and we’re taking on more responsibilities.”

Advertisement

UNISON is calling on the government to address staffing issues so that HCAs feel properly supported and patients receive the care they deserve.

Sara Gorton, Head of Health at UNISON, said: “Healthcare assistants are being left to fill staffing gaps and do vital tasks without recognition or reward. It’s bad for them and bad for patients.

“It is important these staff receive training for all the extra responsibilities they’re expected to take on.

“It’s clear the pressures on them to act as nurse substitutes have increased over the winter. The government needs to show they value healthcare assistants by investing in their training.”

Continue Reading