‘Doom loop’ in health and care must stop

Commenting on research from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, which says better funding is needed for social care, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said:

“The previous government was guilty of neglecting care. That’s why the sector is close to being overwhelmed.

“A lack of capacity in care sees many elderly people admitted to hospital only because there’s nowhere else for them to go. Others are discharged too soon as their beds are needed for sicker patients.

“This doom loop won’t stop unless both health and care get the resources and the staff they need. The new government’s plans to introduce a fair pay agreement in care is the first sign that things are at last set to change.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: press@unison.co.uk
Fatima Ayad M: 07508 080383 E: f.ayad@unison.co.uk

The article ‘Doom loop’ in health and care must stop first appeared on the UNISON National site.

Ofwat has been asleep at the wheel

Commenting on the move by water regulator Ofwat to place Thames Water in a new ‘turnaround regime’ today (Thursday), UNISON head of environment Donna Rowe-Merriman said:

“Ofwat has been asleep at the wheel. Its failure to manage has plunged the water industry into chaos. The latest recovery plan is way too late to have any impact.

“Consumers are once again facing rising bills while shareholders pocket hefty dividends. The infrastructure has been critically neglected, causing irreversible damage to the environment and eroding public trust.

“The rot must stop. Water companies and the regulator must be held accountable to ensure the public interest always comes first. A complete overhaul in the management of the industry is urgently needed.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Fatima Ayad M: 07508 080383 E: f.ayad@unison.co.uk
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: press@unison.co.uk

The article Ofwat has been asleep at the wheel first appeared on the UNISON National site.

Ofwat has been asleep at the wheel

Commenting on the move by water regulator Ofwat to place Thames Water in a new ‘turnaround regime’ today (Thursday), UNISON head of environment Donna Rowe-Merriman said:

“Ofwat has been asleep at the wheel. Its failure to manage has plunged the water industry into chaos. The latest recovery plan is way too late to have any impact.

“Consumers are once again facing rising bills while shareholders pocket hefty dividends. The infrastructure has been critically neglected, causing irreversible damage to the environment and eroding public trust.

“The rot must stop. Water companies and the regulator must be held accountable to ensure the public interest always comes first. A complete overhaul in the management of the industry is urgently needed.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Fatima Ayad M: 07508 080383 E: f.ayad@unison.co.uk
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: press@unison.co.uk

The article Ofwat has been asleep at the wheel first appeared on the UNISON National site.

At last the UK has a prime minister who understands the value of public service

Commenting on Keir Starmer’s first speech as prime minister, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said today (Friday):

“Labour’s historic victory promises real change for public services. Unlike many previous prime ministers, Keir Starmer isn’t a career politician.

“He’s a true public servant and understands the value of high-quality services to local communities, and the importance of the workers who provide them.

“A new approach can’t come soon enough. Investing in essential services will stimulate economic growth, not drain resources.

“There’s much to fix, including across the NHS, social care and local government. But Keir’s leadership offers the promise of a fresh start for the UK, its key services and working people everywhere.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: press@unison.co.uk
Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk

The article At last the UK has a prime minister who understands the value of public service first appeared on the UNISON National site.

At last the UK has a prime minister who understands the value of public service

Commenting on Keir Starmer’s first speech as prime minister, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said today (Friday):

“Labour’s historic victory promises real change for public services. Unlike many previous prime ministers, Keir Starmer isn’t a career politician.

“He’s a true public servant and understands the value of high-quality services to local communities, and the importance of the workers who provide them.

“A new approach can’t come soon enough. Investing in essential services will stimulate economic growth, not drain resources.

“There’s much to fix, including across the NHS, social care and local government. But Keir’s leadership offers the promise of a fresh start for the UK, its key services and working people everywhere.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: press@unison.co.uk
Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk

The article At last the UK has a prime minister who understands the value of public service first appeared on the UNISON National site.

A Labour government can now press the reset button for public services, says UNISON

Commenting on the results of the general election today (Friday), UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said:

“Goodbye and good riddance. The past 14 years of Conservative rule has been nothing short of a living nightmare.

“After an endless merry-go-round of chaos, infighting, untruths and cronyism in government, public services are in a sorry state. Fixing them and rebuilding trust in politics will be no easy task and will take time.

“Thankfully a Labour government can now press the reset button. That means investing in essential services to get communities back on their feet, ensure patients receive NHS treatment when they fall ill and the creation of a social care system that can support everyone needing help.

“For Keir Starmer to win such a historic victory and completely turn around the party’s electoral fortunes is nothing short of remarkable. The idea of a Labour government was unthinkable just four years ago, so to win by a landslide is off the scale.

“Rebuilding public services and reviving the UK must be at the heart of Labour’s mission. Now the hard work begins.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: press@unison.co.uk
Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk

The article A Labour government can now press the reset button for public services, says UNISON first appeared on the UNISON National site.

A Labour government can now press the reset button for public services, says UNISON

Commenting on the results of the general election today (Friday), UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said:

“Goodbye and good riddance. The past 14 years of Conservative rule has been nothing short of a living nightmare.

“After an endless merry-go-round of chaos, infighting, untruths and cronyism in government, public services are in a sorry state. Fixing them and rebuilding trust in politics will be no easy task and will take time.

“Thankfully a Labour government can now press the reset button. That means investing in essential services to get communities back on their feet, ensure patients receive NHS treatment when they fall ill and the creation of a social care system that can support everyone needing help.

“For Keir Starmer to win such a historic victory and completely turn around the party’s electoral fortunes is nothing short of remarkable. The idea of a Labour government was unthinkable just four years ago, so to win by a landslide is off the scale.

“Rebuilding public services and reviving the UK must be at the heart of Labour’s mission. Now the hard work begins.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: press@unison.co.uk
Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk

The article A Labour government can now press the reset button for public services, says UNISON first appeared on the UNISON National site.

Low-income NHS staff paying the price for wage delays

Government delays on NHS pay have resulted in thousands of the lowest-paid health workers being removed from financial schemes aimed at making their travel to work and childcare bills more affordable, says UNISON today (Tuesday).

With the lowest hourly rate in the NHS now just a penny more than the national minimum wage*, the union says trust managers are having to curtail membership of so-called salary sacrifice schemes for many staff.

This is because many workers’ hourly rates fall below the legal minimum when money is removed from pay packets and put towards the cost of, for example, cycle-to-work schemes, nursery vouchers or hospital parking permits.

NHS staff were due a pay rise three months ago, says UNISON. But the government’s failure to deliver this annual wage increase on time has left hospital managers with no option but to withdraw membership of the schemes, for fear of breaking UK wage laws.

This means, says UNISON, that many porters, healthcare assistants, cleaners and 999 call handlers can no longer access support schemes they’ve used for years to help spread or bring down the cost of their spending.

Yet these work-related benefits are still available to higher-paid colleagues, leaving those least well-off taking a severe financial hit, the union says.

UNISON says the situation could have been avoided had the government given all NHS workers a pay rise on 1 April.

The union is calling on NHS employers to do all they can to find ways around the problem and help affected staff. Some health trusts have found ways to increase employees’ salaries locally to avoid problems, or have waived fees. Others are losing staff as they quit for higher paid jobs outside the NHS, says UNISON.

UNISON head of health Helga Pile said: “No worker should miss out on schemes put in place to help them financially. This is especially key in the NHS, which is already many thousands of staff short.

“Not only are low-paid but essential health workers missing out on benefits that come with the job, they’re now going to be forking out even more on childcare, season tickets and parking.

“To make matters worse, this could have been avoided had the government done the right thing and agreed a decent pay rise on time. Staff deserve far better. So do patients and the millions of people awaiting the start of their treatment.

“Improving pay across the NHS must be high up the list for the next government. Put simply this is because better pay will help stop health workers leaving their jobs for more lucrative roles elsewhere. It will also attract more people to work in the NHS. Both are crucial if waits and delays are ever to diminish.

“Until then NHS trusts must do all they can to lessen the hardship for those on the lowest wage rates and now paying a heavy price.”

Notes to editors:
-*Workers at the bottom of the NHS Agenda for Change band 2 salary scale earn £11.45 an hour in England and Northern Ireland. (In Scotland and Wales the bottom of the pay scale is higher). The national minimum wage for those aged 21 and over is £11.44.
– Comments from case studies:
Wendy, a healthcare assistant, said: “These perks are supposed to help workers but band 2 staff aren’t able to access them. It really adds to the sense of feeling undervalued. I don’t see why free parking permits can’t be introduced for staff who are in this position.”
Leanne, another band 2 healthcare assistant said: “I’m no longer parking on site when I go to work because of these changes. I often feel quite unsafe when walking back to my car after a late shift. My car’s actually suffered damage as a result of no longer parking in the hospital car park.
– UNISON is also campaigning for band 2 staff who carry out band 3 clinical responsibilities to be rebanded and receive back pay to compensate them for work already completed. The campaign is called Pay Fair For Patient Care. More can be found here.
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: press@unison.co.uk

The article Low-income NHS staff paying the price for wage delays first appeared on the UNISON National site.

Low-income NHS staff paying the price for wage delays

Government delays on NHS pay have resulted in thousands of the lowest-paid health workers being removed from financial schemes aimed at making their travel to work and childcare bills more affordable, says UNISON today (Tuesday).

With the lowest hourly rate in the NHS now just a penny more than the national minimum wage*, the union says trust managers are having to curtail membership of so-called salary sacrifice schemes for many staff.

This is because many workers’ hourly rates fall below the legal minimum when money is removed from pay packets and put towards the cost of, for example, cycle-to-work schemes, nursery vouchers or hospital parking permits.

NHS staff were due a pay rise three months ago, says UNISON. But the government’s failure to deliver this annual wage increase on time has left hospital managers with no option but to withdraw membership of the schemes, for fear of breaking UK wage laws.

This means, says UNISON, that many porters, healthcare assistants, cleaners and 999 call handlers can no longer access support schemes they’ve used for years to help spread or bring down the cost of their spending.

Yet these work-related benefits are still available to higher-paid colleagues, leaving those least well-off taking a severe financial hit, the union says.

UNISON says the situation could have been avoided had the government given all NHS workers a pay rise on 1 April.

The union is calling on NHS employers to do all they can to find ways around the problem and help affected staff. Some health trusts have found ways to increase employees’ salaries locally to avoid problems, or have waived fees. Others are losing staff as they quit for higher paid jobs outside the NHS, says UNISON.

UNISON head of health Helga Pile said: “No worker should miss out on schemes put in place to help them financially. This is especially key in the NHS, which is already many thousands of staff short.

“Not only are low-paid but essential health workers missing out on benefits that come with the job, they’re now going to be forking out even more on childcare, season tickets and parking.

“To make matters worse, this could have been avoided had the government done the right thing and agreed a decent pay rise on time. Staff deserve far better. So do patients and the millions of people awaiting the start of their treatment.

“Improving pay across the NHS must be high up the list for the next government. Put simply this is because better pay will help stop health workers leaving their jobs for more lucrative roles elsewhere. It will also attract more people to work in the NHS. Both are crucial if waits and delays are ever to diminish.

“Until then NHS trusts must do all they can to lessen the hardship for those on the lowest wage rates and now paying a heavy price.”

Notes to editors:
-*Workers at the bottom of the NHS Agenda for Change band 2 salary scale earn £11.45 an hour in England and Northern Ireland. (In Scotland and Wales the bottom of the pay scale is higher). The national minimum wage for those aged 21 and over is £11.44.
– Comments from case studies:
Wendy, a healthcare assistant, said: “These perks are supposed to help workers but band 2 staff aren’t able to access them. It really adds to the sense of feeling undervalued. I don’t see why free parking permits can’t be introduced for staff who are in this position.”
Leanne, another band 2 healthcare assistant said: “I’m no longer parking on site when I go to work because of these changes. I often feel quite unsafe when walking back to my car after a late shift. My car’s actually suffered damage as a result of no longer parking in the hospital car park.
– UNISON is also campaigning for band 2 staff who carry out band 3 clinical responsibilities to be rebanded and receive back pay to compensate them for work already completed. The campaign is called Pay Fair For Patient Care. More can be found here.
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: press@unison.co.uk

The article Low-income NHS staff paying the price for wage delays first appeared on the UNISON National site.

NHS employers need to pay staff fairly or face strike action

NHS managers must ensure health workers are on the correct salary bands for the jobs they do and avoid the need for further strike action this year, says UNISON today (Friday).

Since 2021, the union has taken an employer-by-employer approach to help healthcare assistants across the UK win wage rises, including around £80m in back pay, to make up for years of being paid significantly less than they should have been.

UNISON’s Fair Pay for Patient Care campaign has prompted salary boosts for nearly 36,000 healthcare assistants and other clinical support workers, because their salaries have increasingly failed to reflect their more complex job responsibilities.

According to NHS guidance, healthcare assistants on the lowest agenda for change salaries (band 2) should only be providing personal care like bathing and feeding patients.

But support staff have been routinely undertaking more involved clinical tasks, says UNISON, including taking and monitoring blood, and performing electrocardiogram tests. This should have pushed their roles into a higher (band 3) bracket, which is worth almost £2,000 a year more.

Some NHS employers have acted to end this unfair wage discrepancy, says UNISON. They’ve lifted support staff on to the next band up and awarded back pay as compensation for when they’ve been doing more complicated tasks but without the appropriate salary.

Elsewhere, it’s taken weeks of industrial action to secure the correct wages and back pay for support staff, says UNISON.

More than 40 deals have now been secured by the Fair Pay for Patient Care campaign. Successes include Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge Community Services NHS Trust and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust.

UNISON, which is holding its annual national conference in Brighton this week, is now urging other NHS employers to do the right thing and pay healthcare assistants the money they’re rightfully owed.

Talks are currently ongoing to try to resolve a dispute involving support staff at two trusts on Teesside, says UNISON. And at the start of the week, hundreds of workers at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth walked out for the first time in their rebanding dispute. Elsewhere, healthcare assistants employed by Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust are due to strike in the coming weeks.

UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said: “Years of tight financial settlements have left the NHS in a precarious state. But that’s no reason not to pay staff the correct wages for the important jobs they do.

“Keeping healthcare assistants on the lowest NHS pay band, when the complex jobs they do call for a higher rate, is a false economy.

“If staff don’t feel valued and believe they’re being taken advantage of, they’re much less likely to stay working in the NHS. And with more handsome salaries on offer elsewhere, experienced health employees are being needlessly lost from the NHS.

“All trusts should do the right thing and ensure they’re paying their entire workforce fairly. Managers shouldn’t leave it until a strike is called before deciding to act.

“No one wants to take action, lose a day’s wages and create disruption for patients. But if that’s what it takes, then that’s what staff will do to win fair pay for patient care.”

Notes to editors:
– Click here for full details of the Pay Fair for Patient Care campaign.
Case studies
–”Staff have been working over and above their band 2 duties every day, performing tasks that aren’t supposed to be part of their role.” Hollie, healthcare assistant, Neath Port Talbot
“I have five children so the back pay and wage rise will be a massive help. The whole pay campaign has made me feel more valued for the work I do.” Danielle, healthcare assistant, East Cheshire
“We’d been left with no option but to strike. Staff just want to be banded correctly and paid fairly for the work they do. For years, people have worked beyond their band without the correct wage. Failure to resolve this issue is not an option.” Max, theatre assistant, Plymouth
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: l.chinchen@unison.co.uk

The article NHS employers need to pay staff fairly or face strike action first appeared on the UNISON National site.