Health unions react to NHS workforce strategy draft plans

Health unions are today (Wednesday) renewing their call for a coherent strategy to improve recruitment and retention, equality and diversity, workloads, well-being and career prospects as the government publishes its workforce plans. 

Over the last three years unions representing cleaners, nurses, doctors, radiographers, pharmacists, midwives, medical secretaries, paramedics, caterers, dental technicians, as well as porters, managers, and allied health professionals have identified areas of improvement that would give the NHS a more flexible positive workplace culture.

Chair of the NHS unions and UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said: “Although the strategy is welcome it needs more work to become the solid, comprehensive plan that unions have been pursuing for years. 

“Unions want the NHS to be honest about the challenges faced by an underfunded service and ensure busy staff are able to learn new skills and feel valued without the constant fear of making mistakes due to the overwhelming pressure they’re under. 

“Services must also reflect the communities they serve and staff from all backgrounds must be treated equally and given the same opportunities to reach more senior roles.

“NHS strategy is currently shared between nine organisations. All these bodies now need to work together with the unions to ensure the final document has a focused, realistic approach to staffing. 

“The plans must have a stronger emphasis on work-life balance and making working conditions better for the million plus people who care for patients.”

Notes to editors:
The NHS unions are: British Association of Dietitians, British Association of Occupational Therapists, British and Irish Orthoptic Society, British Medical Association, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Federation of Clinical Scientists, GMB, Managers in Partnership, POA (union for prison, correctional and secure psychiatric workers), Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Nursing, Society of Chiropodists Podiatrists, Society of Radiographers, UNISON and Unite. 

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