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An NHS under pressure, underfunded and understaffed

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Responding to the NHS Improvement report on the performance of the NHS in England in 2017-18 published today (Thursday), UNISON deputy head of health Helga Pile said:

“Under pressure, underfunded and understaffed – the NHS is caught between a rock and a hard place.

“While the number of people using the NHS has sky rocketed, staff vacancies are at record levels and funding remains elusive.

“Last year’s NHS overspend shows that a sustained funding squeeze doesn’t work. Staff are placed in an impossible position where they’re asked to do more with less, and the books simply don’t balance.

“The government needs to stop dithering and in-fighting, and commit to the funding increases that the NHS so desperately needs.”

Media contacts:
Clare Santry T: 0207 121 5546 M: 07944 191479 E: c.santry@unison.co.uk
Fatima Ayad T: 0207 121 5255 M: 07508 080383 E: f.ayad@unison.co.uk

The article An NHS under pressure, underfunded and understaffed first appeared on the UNISON National site.


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Blog: A person so clearly full of compassion treated with so little compassion

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A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to meet Michael Braithwaite – a public servant, a Windrush child and a UNISON member.

Michael has been through more in recent years than most of us can imagine, with his life torn apart by the vicious “hostile environment” regime introduced by Theresa May as home secretary.

Having lived in the UK for 56 years since arriving from Barbados aged nine, Michael – rightly – thought his immigration status was beyond question. He was, and is, a pillar of his community, the kind of neighbour we’d all wish to have and exactly the kind of person who we’re so fortunate to have educating our children.

Michael works as a teaching assistant. He specialises in working with those with special educational needs, but he works with all children.

You can see why he was drawn to this work 15 years ago, and why he’s so popular with those he’s worked alongside and taught. For Michael, his work was his passion – his second home – and he took great joy in the achievements of the children who he supported.

And yet as a result of a single DBS check at work – something he’d done many times before – he found himself out of work caught up in a ridiculous and illogical government policy which destroyed his life.

Understandably, the impact was devastating.

To be pulled entirely out of your own life – out of work and fearing that losing your family, your home and your friends could be the next step – is something few of us can truly comprehend.

This was a person so clearly full of compassion treated with so little compassion by an uncaring government determined to make life difficult for those who have chosen to make their lives here – regardless of circumstance, duration, family and community ties or even legal status.

Fortunately for Michael, it was UNISON who stood by him when he lost his job, and ensured that he received the legal representation he needed to fight his case. He was ably supported by his branch and his steward Hugo.

His legal status in the UK is clear and he has been offered the chance to return to his old job.

All of this should be a source of immense pride to everyone in UNISON, as it is to me.

And yet this is not a story with a happy-ending. What Michael was put through was too serious, too damaging and too prolonged for that. Meanwhile, too many others faced similar pressures and threats – again, thanks to policies conceived of and implemented by Theresa May.

But if this government want a hostile environment – then our union will give it one.

A hostile environment to those who turn on those who have made their lives here. A hostile environment for attacks on public services. And a hostile environment for this Conservative government.

The article Blog: A person so clearly full of compassion treated with so little compassion first appeared on the UNISON National site.


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Unions welcome Association of Colleges’ U-turn on pay talks

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The University and College Union (UCU) and UNISON have today (Tuesday) welcomed a U-turn from the Association of Colleges (AoC) over pay talks for staff in further education. At the start of the month the AoC said that it would not discuss a pay claim for 2018/19 while UCU members were still in dispute at some colleges.

That threat prompted unions who represent staff in colleges to write to the AoC saying that a refusal to discuss the pay claim was an “unnecessary provocation” and warned the AoC that it risked undermining its “credibility and relevance to the sector” if it would not talk with the unions.

The AoC has now said it will receive the 2018/19 pay claim from the unions.

UNISON head of education Jon Richards said: “It’s in the best interest of the further education sector as a whole that the pay negotiations continue.

“Hardworking support staff haven’t had a decent pay rise for years. The government and employers need to tackle the crippling cuts and low pay that’s sapping the morale of workers. Further education must be funded properly, for the benefit of students everywhere.”

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “We are pleased the AoC has reversed its decision and will now accept the unions’ pay claim. We always think the best place to resolve any issue is at the negotiating table. It is time for them to come to the table with a decent pay offer for staff who have seen their pay held down for too long.”

 

Media contacts:
UCU: Dan Ashley T: 020 7756 2600 M: 07789 518 992 E: dashley@ucu.org.uk
UNISON: Clare Santry T: 0207 121 5546 M: 07944 191479 E: c.santry@unison.co.uk

The article Unions welcome Association of Colleges’ U-turn on pay talks first appeared on the UNISON National site.


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UNISON recommends that HE members reject employers’ pay offer

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Higher education members will be asked to reject the national pay offer from the University and Colleges Employers’ Association in a branch consultation due to begin in the next few weeks.

The employers’ final pay offer was to increase annual salaries by 2% or £425 (full time), whichever is higher. The joint unions’ pay claim was for an increase of £7.5% or £1,500, which is higher, and a minimum wage of £10 an hour.

UNISON’s higher education service group executive met last week and “was clear that the offer falls well short of its aims,” the union’s head of education Jon Richards said today.

“Recent years have seen a series of below inflation pay rises that are making it increasingly difficult for higher education support staff to make ends meet. We ask the employers to think again.

“UNISON has notified our sister unions of the decision  and will seek to co-ordinate with them on the campaign.”

Last Thursday’s meeting of the executive held detailed discussion on the offer before agreeing to recommend that members reject it, pointing out that it did not meet the pay claim agreed by  all unions.

This is in line with a decision taken at UNISON’s 2018 higher education conference.

UNISON’s higher education pay campaign group  will meet shortly and the service group will then begin a branch consultation of members in the next few weeks.

Earlier story: Higher ed employers make final offer (11 May 2018)

Previous story: University pay talks begin (27 March 2018)

Conference report: UNISON sets out higher education pay targets (11 January 2018)

Download: 2018 Joint higher education pay claim (submitted 21 March 2018)

The article UNISON recommends that HE members reject employers’ pay offer first appeared on the UNISON National site.


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It’s all about the data

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As you’ll undoubtedly know from your inbox, from 25 May the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is in effect.

The law gives individuals more choice and control over how their data is used.

The regulation also brings in stricter duties, which all organisations must follow. At UNISON we are committed to keeping your data secure and to not using it in ways you wouldn’t expect. This includes:

  • Being open and honest about how we use your personal data. You can see how in our updated privacy policy;
  • making it simple and straight forward for you to access the data we hold on you;
  • keeping your data secure and acting quickly if things ever do go wrong.

For UNISON activists working with members’ data, the top three things to remember are:

  1. Keep data safe – treat other people’s data as you would your own. For information on how to do this, refer to the Branch Data Protection Handbook
  2. When you collect data, always be transparent about how you are going to use it. Only collect what you need and nothing excessive
  3. If anything does go wrong with data, or you are not sure about anything data related, email our specific data email address. We will help you keep any risk to a minimum.

 

 

The article It’s all about the data first appeared on the UNISON National site.


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Charity’s excessive surveillance is harming care of the vulnerable, says UNISON

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24 May 2018
Embargo: 00.01hrs Friday 25 May 2018

Charity’s excessive surveillance is harming care of the vulnerable, says UNISON

National care charity – Community Integrated Care (CIC) – is subjecting its staff to such a degree of surveillance that they are unable to care for vulnerable people properly, says UNISON today (Friday).

CIC employees have expressed concern at the introduction of a new sign-in system, and have started a petition. This hi-tech clock-in machine identifies staff by their fingerprints and photographs them each time they sign in or out.

Staff who work through the night are required to sign in every hour, which they say can interrupt them attending to people in their care.

Workers have not been asked for consent for their biometric data to be used by CIC, and have not been advised why they need to be repeatedly photographed, says UNISON.

UNISON assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said: “In the week that the new General Data Protection Regulation comes into force, there’s real concerns that CIC is already breaking all the rules.

“CIC has neither asked for, nor received consent, for anyone’s biometric data to be used, and staff are worried this could be the thin end of the wedge.

“For residential care staff, the requirement to sign in every hour makes it hard for them to get on with their job. Staff want to be able to respond to the needs of the people they care for, not the requirements of a machine. CIC should have more trust in their employees and allow them get on with their work.”

Notes to editors
CIC is a national care charity that operates in England and Scotland, employing more than 4,000 staff. As well as care homes, CIC provides community supported living, and respite care services for elderly people and people with learning difficulties. It began implementing the new system which is called Maxtime three months ago and it’s now being implemented in the majority of its workplaces.

Media contacts:
Peter Urwin T: 0161 661 6720 M: 07950 262 300 E: p.urwin@unison.co.uk
Anna Mauremootoo T: 0207 121 5555 M: 07903 870 786 E: a.mauremootoo@unison.co.uk

The article Charity’s excessive surveillance is harming care of the vulnerable, says UNISON first appeared on the UNISON National site.


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UNISON on changes at NHS England and NHS Improvement

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Commenting on the announcement today (Thursday) that NHS England and NHS Improvement are to work more closely together, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:

“Despite healthcare being about people, the last eight years in the NHS have been dominated by structural changes, cost saving exercises and internal politics.

“Changes to regional structures should provide the opportunity for the various parts of the NHS to get back to closer working – something that’s been hard to do since the upheaval unleashed by the Health and Social Care Act.

“A focus on better team-working and a positive culture has been badly lacking, and the day to day experiences of staff long overlooked.

“It’s good to see the NHS acknowledging things haven’t quite worked out as intended when the two organisations were created. The changes are a welcome attempt to usher in clearer accountability and better working between the main NHS bodies.

“The focus must now be on patients and the dedicated staff they rely on. Unions will expect to play their part in the proposed NHS Assembly, so that employees have a voice whenever the health service is being debated.

“UNISON will be working to ensure the changes don’t result in any redundancies and that staff are consulted throughout.”

 

 

The article UNISON on changes at NHS England and NHS Improvement first appeared on the UNISON National site.


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UNISON on Lord Carter’s report into productivity in the NHS

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Commenting on Lord Carter’s report on operational productivity, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:

“The harsh reality of working in understaffed teams with limited resources has had a terrible impact on staff well-being. Increased stress levels, a rise in sickness absence and high staff turnover have all been the result.

“It’s simply impossible for staff to deliver compassionate care when they are working in an environment of fear and blame. A positive workplace culture can make the world of difference to staff.

“It’s crucial this work is taken seriously. A happy and engaged workforce is good for patients and for the wider NHS.

“But Lord Carter has got it badly wrong in his praise of competition. Ministers are already considering a move away from the disastrous Health and Social Care Act, which has fragmented the NHS and tied services up in needless procurement red tape.”

Notes to editors:

The Social Partnership Forum has developed case studies showing the impact of a positive workplace culture.

The article UNISON on Lord Carter’s report into productivity in the NHS first appeared on the UNISON National site.


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UNISON responds to IFS report on NHS funding

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Commenting on the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Health foundation report on NHS funding, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:

“We pay considerably less for our NHS than most other European countries do for their health services.

“It delivers exceptional value for money, but this cannot be sustained without a substantial budget increase.

“With the NHS turning 70, now is the time for ministers to show their commitment to a service that has cared for us all so well. That means proper investment.

“Any future financial settlement for the NHS must factor in the costs of having a fairly rewarded and growing workforce.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The article UNISON responds to IFS report on NHS funding first appeared on the UNISON National site.


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Care Quality Commission give umpteenth NHS pressures warning, says UNISON

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Responding to the Care Quality Commission’s report today (Thursday) on safety standards in A&E departments, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said: “This is the umpteenth warning that the NHS is under extreme pressure.

“Inadequate funding means services and staff are stretched to the limit, and patients are being put at risk.

“For staff working in an unsafe environment on a daily basis it’s a nightmare, when all they’re trying to do is deliver compassionate care.

“Recent UNISON research showed that in 2016/2017 attacks on health workers in hospitals with A&E departments was up by a fifth on the previous year.”

Notes to editors:
Research published last month by UNISON and HSJ revealed that last year in England physical assaults on NHS staff rose by nearly 10% compared to 2015/16. The figures were obtained following a Freedom of Information (FoI) request – submitted by HSJ working on behalf of UNISON – to all the 244 NHS trusts in England. The biggest increase was in the acute sector, with reported attacks on health workers in hospitals with an A&E department up 21%.

 

 

 

 

The article Care Quality Commission give umpteenth NHS pressures warning, says UNISON first appeared on the UNISON National site.


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