Living wage in the NHS

Conference notes, at the time of writing, the failure of the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt to meet and negotiate with NHS trade unions in England on their pay demands as set out in the Staff side letter of 25th June 2014. Conference applauds the efforts of all sections of the health group in delivering […]

Parity for NHS Mental Health Services

Conference notes that although mental health is a significant part of the NHS, at least 20% of all activity, it is very under resourced. As a result staff working in mental health services are experiencing significant workplace stress as they struggle to provide high quality services to the detriment of staff health and wellbeing leading […]

Achieving a work life balance

Conference notes with concern that the goodwill of staff is being abused by managers to cover shortfalls in staffing. In particular there are concerns that staff are: 1) unable to take the necessary breaks in working hours; 2) not being paid for overtime worked; 3) being forced onto 12 hour shift patterns when they would […]

Use of Agency Staff

Conference notes with concern the increasing use of agency staff within the NHS to plug the gaps caused by sickness, unfilled vacancies and general staff shortages. In Wales alone, the cost of locum and agency staff in the last year was £14 million which accounts for 1.9% of the total NHS Wales budget. This is […]

Transforming Workplace Roles in the NHS

At a recent event organised through Clinical Commissioning Groups in Leeds, many NHS stakeholders including health, local authority, third sector and trade unions came together to discuss transforming roles in health and social care through integration. We were presented with NHS England’s Five Year Forward View. Amongst other things, this plan laid out the future […]

Negotiating an End to Disability Discrimination

Conference is concerned that changes to Agenda for Change that came into effect in April 2013 were not Equality Impact Assessed to measure the disproportionate effect on disabled health workers. Circulars issued by NHS Employers make no reference to scrutiny undertaken with regard to disability aspects of the revised terms and conditions and no separate […]

Organising in New NHS Bodies: Prepared and Proactive – Not Reactive

In 2015, it will be two years since we saw the implementation of this coalition government’s so called reforms to the health service and commissioning arrangements in England. The end of the purchaser / provider split, the end of primary care trusts, strategic health authorities, central services, and health protection agencies. In their place we […]

De-skilling the NHS Workforce – Running Down the NHS

Conference is deeply concerned the NHS workforce is being de-skilled in many areas. Previously agreed between the unions and employer Agenda for Change job description and person specifications are being ignored by NHS, wards, departments, clinics, etc, because they are unable to recruit employees with the qualifications, experience and competence the job description describes for […]

Campaign for Pay increases for Agency workers in the NHS

Conference notes 1.5 million people in the UK are employed by Employment Agencies, with around 350,000 people receiving less than the minimum wage. Very few employment agencies paying below the minimum wage have faced any legal action or been fined, despite breaking employment laws. In October 2014, the minimum wage for adults rose by 19p […]

Developing Black Members in the NHS Workforce

Conference notes the over-representation of Black workers in the lower paid roles in the NHS; particularly bands 1-4. The staff in bands 1-4 make up around 40% of the 1.3 million workers in the NHS and are responsible for an estimated 60% of direct patient contact. However these workers receive less than 20% of the […]

Keep Our Commissioning Support Units Public

Conference recognises that when Commissioning Support Units were set up across England when Primary Care Trusts were shut down by the coalition government. Their job is to advise local Clinical Commissioning Groups on buying health services for local people and they can be of strategic importance. The government is now proposing to remove Commissioning Support […]

Pay Campaign – a pound an hour increase for all

Conference congratulates the Health Group Executive and the leadership of our sister NHS unions on the campaign of industrial action to defend the real value of NHS pay. Conference however is concerned at the exceptionally modest ambition of this campaign and believe that for workers to be encouraged to take action we need to seek […]

Organising outsourced workers around pay

Conference believes that a major incentive to outsourcing is the belief that it is possible to obtain cheaper services by giving outsourced workers worse pay and conditions than the ‘core’ NHS workforce. Conference believes it is absolutely essential to submit pay claims each year to major outsourcing companies with the aim of achieving at least […]

Privatisation and the Primary Provider Model

The NHS Health and Social Care Act opened the door to wholesale and unfettered privatisation of the NHS. Conference is appalled at the scale of this sell-off. The NHS in England has also seen a proliferation of a new model of privatisation that is sometimes referred to as a Primary Provider contract. One particular example […]

Establishing Procurement Policies in Commissioning Organisations

The Health and Social Care Act has completely changed the way commissioning is undertaken in the NHS with commissioning decisions paving the way for increased outsourcing and privatisation. UNISON remains vigorously opposed to privatisation of public services. Conference believes that privatisation is taking clinicians away from frontline care as they spend increased time on tenders. […]