August 2021 Branch news

Voluntary return to work if asked to self-isolate
UNISON and the Branch position is that members should not do this.  We would emphasise that any agreement to do so is voluntary, and if you have any concerns around this, please get in touch (email inverness.office@unison.co.uk, tel 01463 715891 and leave a message).
NHS Highland Draft Policies
As a new development, we are posting draft policies on the 'Campaigns and Consultations' page on the branch website, along with the deadline for response and who to send any comments to.  This will also be posted on Facebook.  We'd be interested in hearing from you.  Up so far - draft Menopause policy, and draft Car Parking policy.
As at 3 August, NHS Highland had vaccinated 92.3% of over 18 year olds with their first dose, compared to a Scottish average of 89.8% and 74.5% with their second dose, compared to a Scottish average of 73%.
Easing of Covid restrictions from 9 August
You will be aware of Scottish Government announcements on the above.
The restrictions for COVID 19 have been relaxed for all settings apart from the wearing of face masks, and the 2 meter rule will continue in the healthcare setting -   https://www.gov.scot/news/two-metre-physical-distancing-will-remain-in-health-care/. NHS Highland may move to 1 meter social distancing in offices but this has not yet been decided (at time of writing) - and is actually looking unlikely in the near future.  Current working from home arrangements should continue at present as should use of PPE in health and social care.  Further information will be issued around this as it becomes available.
The link to the Scottish Government guidance is here: https://www.gov.scot/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance/#health,careandsocialwork
There is discussion at Scottish level regarding how sickness absence associated with long Covid will be managed and recorded.  If there are any changes arising from this, we will let you know in a future communication.
Branch Officer roles
We are still looking for a Minute Secretary, to take the minutes of Branch meetings and the Annual General Meeting.  A small honorarium is payable.  Also Neil MacDonald has indicated his intention to step down as the Branch Treasurer at the end of the year, so we are looking to replace this vital Branch role.  In recognition of the work and responsibility associated with the role, the Branch pays a good honorarium.
If you think you may be interested in either of these roles and would like further information please contact the office (email inverness.office@unison.co.uk, tel 01463 715891 and leave a message).
Money Helper
If you're worried about money, especially if these worries are affecting your mental health, please reach out for support. Money Helper, provided by the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) provides free, impartial help as well as directing you to additional services if you need more support.

Branch Communications Officer
UNISON Highland Healthcare

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