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2010 Health Care Service Group Conference
9 December 2009

Conference notes with dismay how band 4 Associate Practitioners are being abused in some of our NHS hospitals and departments.

This role of Associate Practitioner was introduced to utilise the experience of HCAs giving them the opportunity to progress in the workplace and means for the NHS to overcome future shortages in the nursing workforce owing to retirement. This is a growing workforce that needs to be given the respect it deserves if it is to progress.

All too often Band 4 Associate Practitioners are being used as cheap labour, their skills not recognised and their qualifications undermined.

If the role of the Associate Practitioner is to succeed and our HCAs are to progress UNISON must do something now or the Associate Practitioner will be abused even more in the difficult financial times ahead.

Conference therefore calls on the Service Group Executive to;

a.Pursue a way forward to gain clear recognition for the Associate Practitioner in the workplace.

b.Collate information on good and bad experience.

c.Build on good practice and address the issues of bad practice.

d.Work closely with the appropriate professional agencies to gain official registration for the Associate Practitioner.

e.Reject any proposals that the individual employers may register Associate Practitioners.

If UNISON fails to act and support Associate Practitioners there is a risk that we will lose them and the HCAs to the RCN who are actively campaigning to get them into their membership.