MiP has criticised plans for the effective merger of NHS England and NHS Improvement, describing the employers’ consultative document as “confusing, inadequate and, in some areas, riddled with errors”.
In its response to the consultation on Phase 3 of the merger, which involves most Agenda for Change staff affected by the merger, the union said the proposed new structures were “not adequately designed” and many members were still in the dark about how the changes would affect them.
At two webinars held by MiP during August to support members affected by the merger, “100% of attendees reported that they did not feel that the consultation document was clear”, the union said.
Speaking after the union’s webinars, MiP policy and communications officer Mercedes Broadbent said: “Members do not believe the proposed structures match the declared strategy of putting more resources near the frontline, and find it very difficult to understand how individual roles will be affected.
“Members feel that teams have been divided without clear justification, that large areas of work carried out by teams appear to not be accounted for, and that staff structures described by senior managers are not those reflected in the consultation document,” she added.
The union reported “mass confusion” over job descriptions, with some members saying they had had no access at all to job descriptions for posts they had been matched with, while other posts had “unhelpfully generic” job descriptions which made it impossible for members to tell whether the post was suitable for them.
MiP criticised the practice of advertising some posts externally while the consultation period was still going on. “While we understand that normal business must continue to some extent during a process such as this one, MiP members found this hurtful and insensitive,” the union reported.
MiP has also raised strong concerns over the equality impact of the merger plans, which it believes may lead to disproportionate redundancies among senior black and minority ethnic staff and will affect more women than men in management jobs.
Broadbent said poor handling of the merger process had sapped staff morale and led some members to consider leaving the organisations altogether. “We have received reports from members that the consultation has had a serious impact on their mental health, that they believe it has led to an increase in bullying, and that significant numbers of staff are considering their future in their current role,” she warned.
If you are worried about how the NHSE/I merger will affect your job, speak to your MiP rep or national officer as soon as possible. Visit our website regularly for the latest information on the NHSE/I merger and other reorganisations affecting MiP members.