Seven day services and safe staffing

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Conference
2016 Health Care Service Group Conference
Date
16 December 2015
Decision
Carried

Conference believes that moves to seven day operation must be carried out on a case by case basis informed by a robust evidence base.

Conference asserts that extending the hours NHS services operate will require additional funding and cannot be achieved from within existing resources.

Conference recognises that current Agenda for Change unsocial hours payments are an essential enabler of extended service hours and that further improvements may be required to enable extended working.

Conference asserts that the extension of service operating times makes the need for safe staffing guidelines covering all relevant disciplines, and not just confined to nursing, more essential than ever.

Conference notes that austerity measures across the four countries since 2010 have led to large-scale disinvestment in many posts across various Scientific Technical and Therapy (STAT) roles, covering both clinical and support staff. Vacancies are routinely frozen and/or “skilled mixed” down, hours are reduced and staff in post down-banded.

Furthermore, Conference notes that where there has been investment, this has often been in generic roles that can compromise professional indemnity for some staff.

Conference recognises that the healthcare team does not solely consist of doctors and nurses, but also includes the vital contribution of those working in STAT roles, who should also be included in safe staffing numbers, so as not to distort the workforce profile or to adversely affect patient outcomes. Conference notes that prioritising staffing levels for certain professions will lead to a situation where Peter will be robbed to pay Paul.

Conference applauds UNISON’s “One Team” campaign which highlights the importance of multidisciplinary teams including the whole range of staff, including support workers and managers.

Conference therefore calls upon the SGE to:

1)develop tools to help branches to engage in discussions with employers about the evidence base for extending services

2)campaign to protect and improve unsocial hours payments

3)work with the national STAT occupational group and Regional Health Committees to campaign for safe staffing guidelines for cross multidisciplinary teams to protect against staff in extended services being spread too thinly

4)contribute to the collection and dissemination of research-based evidence to support workforce planning for all staff.