UNISON wins Mumsnet

See what Mumsnet thinks of our Public Service Champions campaign

We’re big fans of Mumsnet at UNISON, and following a discussion thread about our public service champions campaign last week, we’re even bigger fans.

Though the discussion began with a post about our campaign that wasn’t exactly positive – “whilst I agree that every role is essential, ultimately the clerical assistant who created the ambulance rota did not save this man’s life, and I feel this undermines the actions of the paramedics, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals” – it quickly turned positive.

Users shared some incredible stories about their own experiences of public service champions.



If the original poster wasn’t too impressed, commenters quickly jumped in to support the campaign.

LondonSouth28 said:

I think these are lovely advertisements – acknowledging those whose contribution is not often acknowledged. I agree the sentence headlines sometimes sound a bit odd, but when you stop and think about it, it’s a good point.

Thanks LondonSouth28! We think you’re lovely too.

More and more people began saying how under-valued they thought public sector support workers are.

“Bottom line, if frontline services didn’t have the cleaners, the admin, the support staff, they couldn’t run public services” said one.

“Without clean wards, those sorting appointments and ordering medication and supplies, the medical staff couldn’t treat the patients effectively” said another.

People who know public-service workers began to talk about their personal experiences of seeing them do incredible work, but being under-appreciated.

bigfriendlygiant said: 

My mum was a medical secretary for over 20 years to the same consultant. She’d schedule his clinics, prioritise his caseload, organise his ward rounds, type his letters, etc etc etc… He always appreciated her, but never more when she was off work for 6 months being treated for cancer. The patients and other HCPs also noticed her absence. You wouldn’t believe the retirement gifts and messages she got.

ladylanky said:

My sister got a YTS job in our local hospital at 17, nearly 30 years later she’s still there in a clerical position. If you want help in that hospital, ask my sister – she might not be able to take your appendix out but she’ll get you in front of a woman that can at the right time and make sure everyone had the information they need while holding your hand if you need it.

hiccupgirl said:

I think these ads are fantastic. Everyone needs the whole team working together for public services to run effectively.

When I was a class teacher I couldn’t have done my job properly without the wonderful office staff and the caretaker.

Some public-service champions themselves commented too.


I was a ward clerk. My job was to make sure the hcps had all the case notes for a patient, even if that meant going through 4 different storerooms and merging multiple sets of notes into one chronological file. I’m the one that answered the ward phone when relatives rang. I’m the one who made clinic appointments. I’m the one who answered the question ‘what time is it?’ when a confused patient with memory loss asked every five minutes for a whole day…

That didn’t make me more important than the doctors or nurses. But I was part of the team too. I never really felt appreciated and yes, there was definitely an assumption in certain quarters that I must be a bit thick… a bit of acknowledgement would have been nice.

Support staff deserve recognition.

QuackDuckQuack made a very important point about the cuts to public services:

What really strikes me about this discussion is that we regularly hear ‘we’re going to cut 40% of admin in hospitals’ or ‘we’ll find 5% efficiency savings each year for the next 4 years’. It sounds like a good idea not to cut front-line staff, but cutting office staff can only go on so far before before it has the same impact as cutting front-line staff because they have to take on the admin tasks themselves.

Hundreds of people commented saying how much they value public sector workers, and thought the campaign to champion them is a good thing.

Possibly our favourite comment of the lot – even though it got a bit sweary – was from greenfolder:

“I think those adverts are bloody brilliant. If more people generally got a proper grip of the idea that all parts are essential to function as a whole and treated people accordingly the world would be a better place.”

Thanks Mumsnet!