May 2018 news for members

No particular further update yet. Members need to be aware, though, that UNISON is the ONLY union arguing that the 3% pay rise should be paid (on account) now. ALL other unions feel that we can wait for a pay rise. We know that members are suffering now - so are continuing our call to the Scottish Government to pay up now!
We can expect that the need for service redesign and organisational change will become more frequent as we go forward.  It's vital for staff (and for UNISON reps) to be involved in these kinds of processes.  The objective would be for us all to understand the reasons/need for change, and the impact that it may have, and broadly support the proposed way forward (whatever it might be for your job/team etc).  Redeployment (if required) following organisational change is a big issue in terms of how this is managed, and what opportunities might be available.  UNISON will be involved in some work to look at how this can be better managed, how opportunities can be improved, and (for example) what re-training may be able to be offered.  We will keep you updated.  Any ideas welcome though!
I expect you will be aware that NHS Highland was (nearly) £15m overspent at the end of the financial year 2017/18.  This is an unprecedented situation for us.  NHSH is charged (by law) with staying within the budget which is set by Scottish Government - and is in negotiation regarding a three year recovery plan to, basically, 'live within our means'.  Of course staff costs are a major part of the budget (although there are significant other areas of overspend - such as adult social care packages and drugs spend) so it's inevitable that staff costs will have to be reduced as well.
Here is a brief extract from NHS Highland's Workforce Plan:
3.8 The development of the three year financial plan is currently underway with the immediate focus being on 2018/19. The Board aims to reduce staff costs by 16% over the next three years through service redesign, reskilling, retraining, natural turnover and evidence based workforce planning. This will be achieved by reducing the size of the Workforce, changing the shape of the Workforce and using the Workforce we have efficiently, whilst ensuring that patient care and standards are maintained.
Of course part of the context for this is a 10% annual turnover in staff.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of information.  It might seem like splitting hairs, but this is not about cutting staff everywhere by 16%, it's about reducing workforce costs by 16%. Of course one of our most expensive staff groups is locum doctors [who are required - where we can get them - to fill gaps created by trying to prop up existing (possibly unsustainable) service models].  Then you can see from this that the next point is about service redesign - how can we do things differently (perhaps by employing different staff e.g. advanced nurse practitioners) to enable services to be sustainable (and also, of course, affordable) going forward.  Things like the nurse workload tools are an absolute - it's not about getting everyone to work harder, with lower staffing levels.  For example at New Craigs beds have been shut temporarily, as it's been agreed that safe and appropriate staffing levels cannot be maintained. Perhaps the last point just now is that it's absolutely vital that staff (and trade unions) are involved in bringing about the necessary changes (and of course in raising concerns if things are getting difficult meantime).
We would like to hear from you about these issues, so please get in touch if you have concerns and/or ideas.
What cover do my family and I receive?
As a UNISON member, you can receive free legal advice and assistance for:
◾Employment law (accessed via your UNISON branch or regional office)
◾Personal injury - at or away from work, on holiday or on the roads
◾Serious injury at work - including brain injuries and spinal cord injuries
◾Industrial disease or illness
◾Basic will writing and reduced rates for more complex wills and conveyancing
◾Defending work related criminal allegations
◾Free initial legal advice on any non-employment issue from UNISON's lawyers. This service entitles you to receive up to 30-minutes of telephone advice.
UNISON members' families are also covered for:
◾Personal injury - away from work, on holiday or on the roads
◾Reduced rates for wills and conveyancing
And if you or a loved one think you have been injured as the result of clinical negligence, we can support you with free initial advice from UNISON's lawyers.
If you want to know more, visit the UNISON website:
I would encourage UNISON members to consider becoming a UNISON Lifelong Learning workplace contact. I am having difficulties reaching out to workers because they can only get information about trade union-led learning if there is a contact person in their workplace. We call such volunteers Union Learning Representatives (ULRs).  This is a very pleasant and rewarding role (separate to the role of a shop steward).
How it works?
As a ULR you would receive an email if there is a course coming up in your area (on average 3 times a year) which you can circulate to your colleagues. Also, if you identify a demand for a particular course, let's say basic computing, you only need to make a list of the learners and pass it on to me. Then I would submit a funding application and (within approximately 6-8 weeks) get the course up and running in the location and time requested by the group.
•             Our courses are fully funded and open to everybody who is in employment (learners don't have to be from the same workplace).
•             Workers usually attend courses in their own time, but any support from their managers (like amending rotas) is always welcome and appreciated.
•             Our courses are provided by local Learning Providers who tender for the contract.
•             We can request the course to be tailored to the needs of a particular group.
•             The aim of the initiative is to improve workforce skills and this is supported by the Scottish Government.
•             Employers are benefiting from free training for their workers who become more efficient and competent in their jobs.

The next training session for new Union Learning Reps will be held in Inverness on 31 May & 1 June 2018. If you wish to book a place or would like more information, please contact me direct, or the UNISON office. All your travel expenses will be met by UNISON.
Regional Learning and Development Organiser
UNISON, 53 Shore Street
Inverness, IV1 1NF
Direct dial: 01463 723968
Mobile: 07950 889765
NHS Education for Scotland (NES) are keen to find out more about Healthcare Support Workers experience of learning at work, and aspirations as a clinical HCSW in NHS Scotland. The information will be collected by the on-line survey link below and will be anonymous and not personally identifiable.
The NES Clinical HCSW Team will use the information collected to help them make decisions on how to improve access to learning and development for HCSW's in their your role.   If you are a HCSW please use this opportunity to submit your views. If you have any questions about the survey please e-mail the team at hcsw@nes.scot.nhs.uk.


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