Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Issue Over Whistle Blower Amicably Resolved

Today UNISON West Midlands and Worcestershire acute Hospitals put out a joint statement regarding the resent whistle blowing of Stuart Gardner.

“UNISON and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust have agreed that the Trust does not have the authority to exclude an individual paramedic from its premises and the paramedic has received an apology for the suggestion that he should be excluded.

Unison and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust are pleased this matter has been resolved amicably.

A&E departments in Worcestershire, in common with the rest of the country, are experiencing high levels of demand and rely on all health partners working together to care for patients. 

UNISON and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust are committed to providing high standards of care for all patients.”

Ravi Subramanian, UNISON West Midlands Regional Secretary said:

“I am pleased to see that the Trust accepts they made a mistake in excluding our rep Stuart from their site.

I am incredibly proud of Stuart Gardner for the professional way he has conducted himself. He did the right thing by trying raise his concerns privately, but when he was rebuffed he felt he had no alternative but to whistle blow.

He showed courage by whistleblowing and he did it in a dignified way. And he’s shown determination to get through this despite the victimisation he has received. He is a credit to UNISON, West Midlands Ambulance Service and himself.

Any UNISON member who whistle blows can expect the full backing of the union.

We know front-line NHS staff are working flat out in difficult conditions and UNISON now look forward to working in partnership with the Trust management to address the issues in A & E.”

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Graph of the week - Tory Hypocrisy on strike ballots

A few days ago the Tories announced, if elected they plan to change the laws around strike ballots so that they will only be valid if 40 per cent of the eligible members vote in favour of the strike. Given that a majority of memebrs voting is also required this means there would have to be a minimum 80 per cent turnout, even with every union member voting in favour of strike action.

We thought we'd take a look at the number of MPs, in the last general election, who were elected by more than 40 per cent of the electorate. The graph above shows that only 6 per cent of MPs met this criteria.

UNISON (West Midlands) Regional Secretary, Ravi Subramanian said "What this graph shows is that the Tories are hypocritical and want to have two classes of democracy. A premier class of democracy for the political elite, but a second class form of democracy for workers trying to defend themselves. Changing the system because you don't like the outcome of democracy is what despots and dictators do."

Friday, 16 January 2015

Patient Lives put at Risk as UNISON Condemn Attack on Whistle Blower

UNISON has today condemned the actions of the Stewart Messer, the Chief Operating Officer at Worcester Acute Hospitals NHS trust. Mr Messer has singled out Stuart Gardener, a UNISON rep and registered paramedic , who criticised the standards of care caused by the excess workload being placed upon Accident and Emergency departments across the region. Mr Gardner used Worcester Hospital as an example in recent media interviews.

Prior to making his comments Mr Gardner advised Mr Messer of his concerns about A&E and his intention to raise this issue through whistle blowing. He was told ‘to go ahead and do it’. He was then subjected to threats before and after making his comments. He has now been barred from attending Worcester Hospitals even if he is carrying out his duties as an operational paramedic.

UNISON have grave concerns that lessons from the Stafford Hospital inquiry regarding whistle blowers have not been learned and rather than dealing with the problems facing the A&E departments the Trust has chosen to personally attack a member.

Ravi Subramanian, UNISON West Midlands Regional Secretary said:

“Our rep Mr Gardner is clearly acting in the public interest in whistle blowing about serious concerns about A & E. The response from the Trust’s Chief Operating Officer, Mr Messer is nothing short of an utter disgrace.

By banning Mr Gardener from the Trust premises Mr Messer is putting patients’ lives at risk. What happens if Mr Gardner is on a 999 call in the area and the best place to take patient is to Worcester Royal Hospital. Is the Chief Operating Officer saying that Mr Gardner will be turned away, and will have to take the patient to a hospital further away, thus endangering patient safety.
The public know that frontline NHS workers are working flat out to deal excess workload in A & E. But how can the people of Worcester have any faith in the management of the hospital when in Mr Messer, we have a Chief Operating Officer who has prioritised victimising a UNISON whistleblower over spending his time addressing the real and serious issues in A & E.
UNISON will not allow patient lives to be put at risk for such a foolhardy and vindictive response when legitimate whistle blowing concerns are raised."

Tom Watson MP says "The NHS is not for sale"

West Bromwich West MP Tom Watson penned an article titled "The NHS is not for sale" in the Mirror.

Tom starts his article by saying:

The NHS is not for sale. Let me repeat that because David Cameron doesn’t seem to be listening. The NHS is NOT for sale.

His latest wheeze is to back an EU trade deal which threatens our health service and everything it stands for.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has been described by War on Want as an ‘assault’ on society.

This potential treaty with the US could essentially mean more NHS privatisation. It would allow American health giants to bid for NHS contracts then sue for millions if the government tries to ditch them.

And it’s yet another example that we can’t trust Cameron to tell us the truth. No mention was made by him of the sell-off when he was out begging for votes during the 2010 general election.
The rest of his article is well worth a read as it outlines the terrifying future the NHS faces if the Tories are re-elected in May 2015. The full article can be found at the link here.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Graph of the week - how many major A&E depts meet the waiting time target?

The media continue to report on the NHS crisis in A & E with sad and worrying stories about what is happening in our hospitals.

This week's graph of the week is a simple pie chart that shows only 6 per cent of major A&E departments meet the government target of treating 95 per cent of A&E admissions within 4 hours.

It really is as bad as the media are reporting, and, as many NHS workers have been telling UNISON, the winter peak has not yet hit as we've not had a prolonged icy spell. The worst is mostly likely yet to come.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Tom Watson MP says "Don't let the Tories kill off the NHS"

In yesterday's Sunday Mirror newspaper West Bromwich West MP Tom Watson penned an article titled "Don't let the Tories kill off the NHS" and quoted some UNISON research about the lack of pay rises for NHS workers

His article started:

The NHS is sick. Sick of being stripped, bullied and undervalued. Our most beloved national institution can’t survive another five years of Cameron. Another five years of cutbacks and crisis under his “care”.

This is the man who vowed he’d cut the deficit, not the NHS. Well, he lied.

The Tories plan to slash spending on public services to levels not seen since the 1930s. This would put us on an equal footing with Mexico and Korea, countries where up to half the health service is privately funded.

Our A&Es have just endured the biggest meltdown in history. A record number of patients waited more than four hours for emergency care before Christmas. This is one of more than a dozen care standards broken under Tory management.

And let’s not forget the silent heroes battling to keep the NHS together. From nurses to cleaners, they worked round the clock while many of us relaxed over Christmas and New Year. 

Tom's article is spot on and to read the rest of it go here.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Graph of the week - is the change in council spending power a political fix?

Just before Christmas the central government grants to councils in England were announced, with the minister saying there was a funding cut of only 1.8% to councils. But as with everything with this spin obsessed government, the devil is in the detail.

The 1.8% figure looks at all 354 councils, but 200 of those councils are (small) district councils that make up less than 6% of total council spending. Hence the 1.8% average cut figure is achieved by including these councils with very small budgets, so the 1.8% figure is a gross distortion.

So if we only look at the 154 large councils (London Boroughs, Metropolitans, Unitaries and County Councils) this actually makes up over 94% of all spending by councils and it gives a far more realistic picture.  

The graph above shows the cut for each of these large councils, and the colour of the bar shows which party controls that council. Note the clear picture that the largest losers are mainly (red) Labour councils, and the gainers are mainly (blue) Tory councils.

Is this a political fix? Take a look at the graph, and decide for yourself.

1. Due to space limitations on the vertical axis not every council is labelled but every council is shown by a  coloured bar.

2. To see the actual figures for every council, look at the spreadsheet used to create the graph which can be found here: http://bit.ly/1z2vT9w