How We Want To Work – A Charter for the NHS Workforce

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2014 Health Care Service Group Conference
7 December 2013
Carried as Amended

Conference recognises that in the run-up to the general election, all political parties will be setting out their policies on the NHS including the structures in the four countries and the ideological differences behind them; the different approaches to integration with social care, and outcomes for patients and the way that serious complaints are handled. Assessments are likely to be made about the various parties and their delivery against manifesto promises from 2010.

Conference believes it is important for NHS staff to know what they can expect in relation to their working lives over the coming parliamentary term. Whatever country or part of healthcare our members work in, they will be subject to more change, whether that is in relation to where they work, how their services are organised and how employers react to changes in funding.

UNISON believes it is critical that discussions about the future of the NHS must be underpinned by a shared commitment to good employment practice and to engage with the NHS workforce and trade unions.

To this end, Conference calls on the Health Service Group Executive to work with regions and devolved countries to develop a Charter on ‘How we want to work’, drawing together the best practice for employment rights and staff involvement and engagement across the UK countries and to use this to get commitments from politicians and political parties on its implementation.

The Charter should include commitments that:

1)staff are actively, meaningfully involved, through their recognised NHS trade unions, in the way in which services are designed and delivered;

2)staff safety and wellbeing is paramount in all healthcare settings;

3)Agenda for Change is the appropriate standard for terms and conditions of service for all staff delivering NHS services across the UK;

4)further integration of the health and social care sectors will not result in a lowering of the bar in relation to pay, terms and conditions;

5)security of employment and access to an NHS pension should be the standard for all staff;

6)a ‘zero hours culture’ does not become prevalent in the NHS.

Conference further calls on the Health Service Group Executive to engage in discussions with relevant democratic structures within UNISON about how the charter should be used in each of the four countries.