Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Finance staff strike at Monklands and lunch time protests

UNISON Lanarkshire Health Branch would like to put on record our thanks to our membership in Finance at Monklands Hospital who undertook strike action today.

Their generosity in taking action on behalf of the wider membership and their contribution today was greatly appreciated by the branch as a whole.

Many thanks colleagues for making a such a serious issue as strike action - a good humoured day!

Additionally we would like to thank our fellow workers who came out at Kirklands, Wishaw General and Hairmyres in lunch time protests in support of the action.

Solidarity forever the union makes us strong.
Some of the strikers at Monklands today.

Monday, 26 March 2012

PENSIONS: Email now to Nicola Sturgeon MSP

Over the last few days we have been circulating postcards to members and non-members encouraging them to send a pre-printed postcard to the Cabinet Secretary for Health & Wellbeing, Nicola Sturgeon.

If you have not seen the postcards please take 5 minutes to send an electronic message with the same message.

Please use this link to send your message to Nicola

Tuesday, 20 March 2012


The fight to stave off Pensions contribution increases continues with vigour next Tuesday 27th March when UNISON members in Finance at Monklands General Hospital will stage a 1 day Strike in support of our campaign to get the Scottish Govt to the negotiating table .

Lunchtime Protests from 12noon - 2pm  have been called at Monklands , Wishaw General , Hairmyes and NHS Board HQ at Kirklands  .

These protests are being supported by all the Unions - so get out their in your Lunch break and show your strength of feeling as well as saying a BIG THANK YOU ! to those members who are taking strike action on behalf of ll of us !

March and Rally against Youth Unemployment - Troon

No to workfare - Yes to jobsMarch and Rally against youth unemployment outside
Tory Conference in Troon
Sat 24 March 2012
Assemble 12 noon
South Beach Esplanade (Victoria Drive)
March off: 12.30 pm
Rally 1.00 pm
South Beach Esplanade (Titchfield Rd)

Tuesday, 13 March 2012


UNISON, the UK’s largest union representing 460,000 NHS workers, today condemned the Government’s decision not to give a pay rise to nurses, therapists, paramedics, midwives and other health staff for the second year running. The cut means that health staff have seen the value of their wages fall by 11.6% since the Coalition came to power.

The recommendation from the Pay Review Body to award £250 to those staff earning under £21,000, will still leave thousands upon thousands of staff struggling to make ends meet.

Coupled with massive discontent about the hated Health and Social Care Bill, privatisation, cuts and job losses, the pay freeze sends out another message that the NHS is suffering under the Coalition Government.

Christina McAnea, UNISON Head of Health, said “We are disappointed at the Government’s decision which means the pay of staff in the NHS is now worse than when this government came to power. Hundreds of thousands of NHS staff and their families face a second year without a pay rise. It is a tough job being a nurse, paramedic, therapist or midwife and surely we want them to concentrate on their patients and not to be worrying about paying rapidly rising bills.

“Continuing to freeze pay in this way will also deter young people from entering healthcare professions and we could soon be back to the bad old days where gaps in the workforce could only be plugged by raiding the trained staff of other countries.

“The NHS will only be able to cope with double whammy of massive restructuring and fewer resources by retaining well motivated and highly skilled staff.”

In its evidence to the Pay Review Body, UNISON warmed that a toxic combination of increasing demand, shrinking resources and the pay freeze, was putting staff under severe pressure. The Pay Review Body report has acknowledged these pressures and highlights the loss of independent decision making imposed on it by the Government’s demand to impose a public service pay freeze.

UNISON Health workers in Scotland reject Government attacks on their pensions and start a new wave of strikes

The first strike will take place today at the central decontamination unit of Ayrshire Central Hospital in Irvine. Picket lines are in force this morning and the strike will last for 48 hours.

Further selective coordinated strike action will take place on a regular rolling basis across Scotland and will target particular departments in each Health Board. Strike action is planned later this month in NHS Lothian, NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde.

The strikes are intended to increase pressure on the Scottish Government for a Scottish solution to all aspects of the pensions changes. This includes this year’s increase to employee contributions of up to 2.4% - which is effectively a pensions tax on health workers.
Members are particularly angry because not one penny of the ‘pensions tax’ increase in contributions will go towards their pensions.

Mike Kirby, UNISON Scotland Secretary, said: “We do not accept that the Scottish Government has no option other than to follow the UK Government’s proposals. There is a separate scheme in Scotland and there are other options to fund the cost. These should be pursued in partnership.”
"We call on the Scottish Government to seek a Scottish solution, delay the pensions tax, and engage with us to find a negotiated settlement.”

You are encouraged to sign the following e-petitions which are on the HM Government website:

Public & Private Pension Increases - change from RPI to CPI : http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/1535

Maintaining a Fair and Sustainable NHS Pension Scheme:
More than 100,000 signatures may trigger a debate in the Westminster Parliament.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Proposal to Scan Health Records

The NHS Scotland eHealth Strategy 2011-2017 explicitly states that NHS Boards should ‘by 2014 have well established programmes to replace paper with digital equivalents’. In response to this, and building on previous eHealth investments, NHS Lanarkshire proposes to eliminate the majority of its paper health records over the next 10 years as part of its programme to implement comprehensive electronic patient records.  This will be achieved through scanning and digitisation of both past and current health records. These ‘electronic’ records will be easily available at the point of care through a clinical portal.
This project will have substantial effect on staffing numbers especially within Health Records in the 3 Acute General Hospitals, but it will also see changes to Portering requirements, Medical Secretaries workload and many other areas. Current baseline figures that have still need to be fully reviewed/agreed suggest staffing levels in Health Records may reduce by up to 70 WTE.
To accommodate the proposed central scanning unit, the RMS service currently based in Hairmyres will be moved to Kirklands leading to a large number of staff being asked to re-locate to Bothwell from East Kilbride or if this isn’t a viable option, these staff being placed on the redeployment list.
UNISON stewards are fully involved in the staff consultation that is currently taking place until the 31st March 2012 and will be highly involved in all project boards and project sub-group that get set-up following this consultation period to support our members during this project.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Nursing staffing level survey

UNISON is being informed by more and more nurses that they are concerned about nurse-to-patient ratios and the effect of these on patient safety.

We are constantly hearing in the media how bad nursing care is but few pay attention to the circumstances that affect patient care such as poor staffing levels.

There are no nationally agreed staffing levels or nurse patient ratios other than in ITU, where the Royal College of Anaesthetists have clear protocols.

UNISON has developed an online survey which will tell us not only what the staffing levels are
but also the number of patients and the impact on care. We are aiming to publish the findings
on the 24th April at the annual UNISON Health Conference.

Are you working on 6 March?
We are asking all members of the nursing family who are working on any shift over a 24 hour
period to tell us what their staffing levels were like from midnight on Tuesday 6th March.

We are also asking you to make some notes on how your shift was staffed. Use the worksheet
available at: http://www.unison.org.uk/file/A5826.pdf to find out what you need to fill in.

After your shift that day, go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/nursingratios and enter the notes you took. This web survey will close on Friday 16 March, so make sure you get your data for March 6 entered before the closing date.

All nurses can take part in the survey. You do not need to be a UNISON member – this issue affects everyone. RCN members are welcome.

We know staffing levels are already dangerously low in some places. When UNISON approached managers to arrange emergency cover for the November 30th Day of Action, some managers requested ‘minimum cover’ that was actually more than that on a normal day! We also know that low staffing levels often mean a decrease in the quality of patient care and an increase in work-related stress and absence for staff.

When the results are available they will also be published in UNISON News and our website. Thanks in advance

Friday, 2 March 2012

UNISON protesters lobby Health Minister as Scotland launches further industrial action on pensions

UNISON Scotland will on Monday 5 March launch a further round of industrial action on changed proposed to NHS pensions.

Ayrshire & Arran Health Board will be the first of several Boards in Scotland to receive notice for strike to take place in the week of 12th March. This will involve staff working in the Central Decontamination Unit at Ayrshire Central Hospital.

That facility is on Monday 5 March being officially opened by Cabinet Secretary Nicola Sturgeon. Protesters will make it known that UNISON’s 50,000 members in health expect a Scottish solution to all aspects of pensions changes including the year 1 increases to employee contributions of up to 2.4%.

Mike Kirby, Scottish Secretary of UNISON, said:
“Health workers in Scotland will be the major group to face the brunt of contributions increases which even the Scottish Government says are unwanted and unnecessary.

"Scottish Ministers should delay these changes to allow negotiations in NHS Scotland to find alternatives which don’t involve taking money out of Scottish health workers' pockets to give to the Treasury as a windfall tax.”

Tom Waterson, chair of UNISON Scotland's Health Committee said:
“We had hoped to bring the Scottish Government to the table to negotiate on the pension tax due to start in April 2012.

"It is not too late for further industrial action to be avoided, and for the pension tax increases to be delayed to allow a negotiated settlement.”