The Trade Union Bill: Jenny’s story

My name is Jenny Edwards and I work as an associate practitioner

My job involves patient care, escalation to nurses/doctors of deteriorating patient, clinical observations, pre/post op care etc.

The best thing about my job is the patient contact and caring aspects.

The worst day I ever had was when it was only me and a nurse on duty with a very poorly patient – thank God my ward sister put on her uniform and came in to help us.

The government wants to make it legal for agency workers to cover my role if I was to ever go on strike. The main reason I do not think this is a good idea is it undermines a fundamental human right to be able to withdraw your labour.

Another reason I don’t think this is a good idea is we are already supported by agency nurses making up our numbers – areas need substantive staff who know the ward area, bleep numbers, access to results via computer etc for patient safety.

I think this will have a negative impact on people who use the service I provide, because they may be cared for by an agency nurse who has travelled two hours to get here and then is doing a double shift, so may be very tired.

I think this will make the service I provide unsafe, because the continuity of care is important, knowing patients well is a great asset.

In general I do not think the Trade Union Bill is a good thing because it will gag the unions, act like big brother in tampering with the right to free speech and NHS employers are happy with the DOCAS [check off] arrangements!