One Team week – 5-9 November 2018

One Team Week is a celebration of NHS support staff, particularly those working in operational services. UNISON organises One Team Week each year  as part of our One Team campaign to celebrate the porters, cleaners, admin and clerical staff, catering staff and all support workers who work tirelessly in the NHS, often without the recognition they deserve.

In November we are spending five days celebrating our amazing support staff and we want your workplace to be part of it. So, put 5-9 November in your diary and start planning how you will highlight the work these members do.

Why do we need to celebrate operational services staff?

When people think of NHS staff, who do they see? Probably doctors, nurses and paramedics. But almost half the staff in the NHS (around 470,000 people) are in clinical support or infrastructure support roles: these include porters, medical secretaries, telephonists, cleaners, caretakers and laundry staff. These are the people, often unseen by patients, who play a vital role in keeping our NHS running, making sure patients and their families get the best treatment possible.

UNISON is proud to represent these unseen heroes of the NHS and we are celebrating One Team Week because we believe that everyone, including patients, their families, politicians and the public should recognise and celebrate these staff too.

In the resources section you will find material and ideas to help you celebrate the week. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your celebration now.

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One Team campaign

UNISON’s One Team campaign gives NHS support staff the recognition they deserve.

NHS support staff work tirelessly throughout the health service to clean wards, maintain vital equipment, order medical supplies, book appointments, manage computer systems and cook meals – all to ensure that patients get the care they need.

What is One Team about?

Who do people see when they think of NHS staff? Probably doctors, nurses and paramedics. But almost half the staff in the NHS (around 470,000 people) are in clinical support or infrastructure support roles – these include porters, medical secretaries, telephonists, cleaners, caretakers and laundry staff. These are the people, often unseen by patients, who work behind the scenes and carry out vital roles to keep our NHS running, making sure patients and their families get the best treatment possible.

What is UNISON doing for NHS support staff?

As the main union for support staff across the NHS, UNISON believes it’s high time that members of the public and politicians understood the role you play in delivering quality patient care. We think it’s unfair that you don’t get the recognition you deserve.

Support staff have been on the receiving end of cost-saving drives in the NHS, including job cuts, restructurings, zero hours contracts, downbanding and outsourcing.

UNISON campaigns to ensure that the NHS and its staff remain in the public sector. We campaign for you.

  • We are promoting the message that all staff, no matter what they do, play an important part in caring for patients.
  • We are campaigning to remove the false divide when politicians talk about ‘frontline’ and ‘back office’ NHS staff.
  • We are promoting the value of our support staff by campaigning against any attacks which come your way.

So what can you do as support staff working in the NHS?

  • If you’re not already a member, join UNISON so that you have a voice and can be part of our campaign.
  • Find out more about the campaign by visiting unison.org.uk/oneteam
  • Speak to your UNISON branch to get more details about One Team week

This year we will be celebrating the porters, cleaners, admin and clerical staff, catering staff and all support workers during One Team Week.

Join us to celebrate the whole healthcare team during One Team week from 5-9 November 2018.

Get involved!

So, how will you be celebrating the people who make sure that patients’ meals are cooked, medical notes are typed, wards are cleaned or bins are emptied?

Below are some ideas that we’ve come up with – why not try some of them where you work. Why not:

  • nominate someone in your workplace for the Our Health Hero operational services award sponsored by UNISON – find out more at skillsforhealth.org.uk/ohh-2018
  • give NHS staff, patients and their families a chance to meet some of your trust’s unsung heroes by having a stall in the hospital where support staff can chat about the jobs they do and how they make a difference to patients and their families and support colleagues in their jobs or give support staff badges which encourage other staff and patients to ask them about their jobs
  • hold a tea party to show support staff that UNISON sees them as a vital part of the healthcare team. Tea and cake goes down well, and you can order some special One Team badges and other goodies to hand out to members.
  • speak to your employer about using your workplace magazine or website to interview a support worker about what they do and what they love about their job. Alternatively you could do the same thing in your branch newsletter or on your branch website.
  • organise a quiz about all the different roles that support staff do – then either use it on your stall, or at a tea party and organise prizes for the staff who know the most about who empties their bins, brings patients meals or how many different jobs there are in the workplace. A slightly different take on a quiz is to play guess my job games by listing the responsibilities of a particular role and matching those to the person who does that job
  • write to your local newspaper to let them know you’re celebrating support staff during One Team Week from 5- 9 November and invite them to interview some members about the jobs they do

Making a big fuss of support staff

Let’s get the employers involved too because it’s important that they are seen to recognise the vital role that support staff play. You could:

  • approach your employer about the possibility of holding an awards ceremony for support staff in your workplace. Staff could nominate colleagues for awards and you could invite the chief executive to present the awards and make sure they are publicised in the staff magazine
  • ask the employer to hold a “coffee morning” for all support staff and lay on tea, coffee and cakes
  • why not issue a joint invitation from UNISON and your employer to your local MP and local councillors asking them to come and visit your workplace and meet some NHS support staff
  • issue a friendly challenge to your chief executive asking if they would shadow a member of support staff for a morning, or ask if they would invite the local MP or councillors to try their hand at being a member of the NHS team for a couple of hours.

Whatever you are planning, UNISON has produced plenty of resources to help make your event a success. Check out what’s available on our online catalogue at unison.org.uk/catalogue in the One Team Week section. Some of the material is free, some you will need to pay for but have a look and get planning.

Tell us what you are doing

These are just a few ideas to get you started. We are sure you will have plenty more yourselves and we’d love it if you would share them with us. Your ideas may inspire other branches to plan events and help turn the week into something that can’t be ignored.

So, tell us your plans, and when you hold your events and things start happening, don’t forget to share pictures and stories with us via media. If you follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook we can publicise your events too. 

What’s available

During One Team Week we’ll be celebrating all support staff in the NHS. We have produced resources to help branches organising events – some are available from UNISON’s online catalogue – see resources section.

We have also produced a range of products with TC Branding which branches can order from them direct. You will need to place your order for pens, bags, waterbottles and mugs by 4 October to guarantee delivery in time for One Team week. Contact june@tc-group.co.uk to find out more and order.

Resources

Resources