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Friday 15 May 2020

Blue Print for return agreed by 16 NHS Unions

By Jon Restell

The NHS is starting up many services again. As managers our members want to keep their patients, teams and themselves safe and well.

Jon Restell

This blueprint from trade unions, including MiP, covers the main issues in this new phase. And it is timely as staff are probably more anxious today than this time last week after the 'stay alert' shift in messaging from the UK Government over the weekend. We need the  UK Government and NHS senior leaders to keep working with unions and managers to act on these very serious and legitimate concerns.

Risk assessments, particularly for at risk groups such as BAME staff, are a high priority and fresh guidance for line managers and employers is critical to ensure staff safety. We need this to be made available so managers can make the right decisions in consultation with their staff.

To ensure risk levels are managed, it is important that clinicians can keep using digital technology for some appointments and that staff who can work from home are allowed, encouraged and supported to do so. Trust is a vital component in this changed working environment. Our members don't want a knee-jerk return to normal when new ways of working can benefit patients and staff and keep them safe. Staff will feel more than ever the duty of care required of employers.

While the safety of patients and staff is the priority, we must also see fair pay for all staff. NHS staff including managers routinely work extra hours for no extra pay. In the last two months they've been working even longer unpaid hours with ever more disruption to their family lives. If we are going to sustain the amazing response to the pandemic, working time should be paid working time with proper breaks and rest. This  will sustain the motivation and commitment of staff into this next phase which is critical to the health and safety of the country.

Jon Restell, Chief Executive, MIP


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