Thursday, 30 April 2015

Health workers fear for future of NHS

UNISON West Midlands have today revealed that over 90% of members working in the NHS surveyed are worried about the future of the NHS.
UNISON recently surveyed thousands of members across the West Midlands asking how worried they are about the future of the NHS. This lead to the stark truth that 93% of health workers are worried about the future of the NHS.
Ravi Subramanian, UNISON West Midlands Regional Secretary said:
“UNISON members are at the front line of delivering services in the NHS and work in roles such as nurses, health care assistants, cleaners, porters, and receptionists.
Our members cover the roles that keep the NHS working and functioning as a world class service.This survey shows the recently highlighted public concern about the NHS is well placed because the over 90% of the workers in the NHS are also worried.
On 7 May people have the chance to vote to ensure that the NHS gets the investment it needs and remains a public service free from privatisation.”

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Graph of the week - this government broke the economy

The government claims that the economy was contracting when they came to power in May 2010, but the graph above shows the economy contracted after the global banking crash and started growing in 2009. The dip in economic growth comes after the first two of George Osborne's budgets.

It was this government that stalled the economic recovery after the global crash.

With a hat tip to Paul Mason on Twitter @paulmasonnews

Monday, 13 April 2015

West Midlands Fire Service to become Living Wage Employer

Members at West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) look set to be paid at least ‘The Living Wage’, if the move is approved by members of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority (WMFRA).
UNISON began negotiations with the brigade in late 2014 and a report is being presented at a meeting of the WMFRA on Monday 13 April recommending that the service adopt the living wage from 1 April 2015.
This will mean the wages of 62 WMFS staff will rise to the level of The Living Wage, which is currently £7.85 an hour outside of London.
Tony Rabaiotti, UNISON West Midlands Regional Manager said:
“This is a huge step forward for West Midlands Fire and Rescue service and they should be congratulated for taking this step.
Receiving living wage gives employees the chance to earn an amount of money that covers the basic cost of living.The move to implement the living wage clearly shows that they, along with many organisations both public and private, are beginning to see that the minimum wage is not enough for our members to live on. 
More employers across the West Midlands need to follow WMFS’s lead and ensure that hard working staff are paid properly for the work they do”
Vic Mallabar, WMFS’s UNISON Branch Secretary, added:
“We welcome this positive response to our requests for our lowest paid staff to be lifted up to the living wage threshold. We recognise the difficulties faced by West Midlands Fire Service, but are proud that the management and Fire Authority have supported our lowest paid staff. We congratulate the service on becoming a living wage employer.” 

Friday, 10 April 2015

Survey Reveals Scale of Stress among Ambulance Workers

Long hours, an increasing focus on targets and staff shortages are placing an enormous burden on ambulance workers in the West Midlands as more than nine in ten (92%) say they are suffering with stress, according to a new UNISON survey published today.
The survey is published ahead of the union's annual health conference in Liverpool next week.
The survey of 238 ambulance workers in the West Midlands reveals that nearly three-quarters (72%) are suffering with sleep problems as a result of stress, 74% said they felt irritable and experienced mood swings, and more than half  (57%) suffered with anxiety. More than a third (38%) said they had to take time off sick because of work-related stress and 30 per cent admitted they were close to doing so.
One West Midlands paramedic described how paramedics are asked to deal with 999 calls:
“Late-finishing on shifts causes huge stress for me as a single parent. I can end up not seeing my child for days on end as he’s often asleep by the time I’m home.”
Another ambulance worker in the region revealed that their personal relationships are suffering because they always work late shifts and only get two weekends off every three months.
Worryingly, almost two-thirds (63%) admitted they did not tell their employer the reason that they were off sick was stress. Only five% said they would talk to a manager or a supervisor to cope with stress. Turning to friends and family is the most commonly mentioned source of support and almost half said they talk to peers in an attempt to cope.
As a result of pressures on the service and workers, a staggering four in five (82 per cent) admitted they had thought about leaving the job.UNISON is concerned that employers are not fulfilling their duty of care as more than half the respondents (56 per cent) said they were unaware of any steps being taken by their employer to remove or reduce stress.Six in ten (60 per cent) said their employer did not support a good work-life balance and more than two-thirds (34 per cen t)admitted they might need to take time off if the situation did not improve.
Franco Buonaguro, UNISON West Midlands Head of Health said:
“Working in emergency services is stressful but the pressure on ambulance staff is reaching dangerously high levels. It is unacceptable that the current system doesn’t allow for proper breaks between shifts. Workers have told us they often work 14-hour shifts without a decent break.Higher call out rates and lengthy waits outside A&E departments are adding to the problem. It is clear that the pressure caused by government funding cuts is having a huge impact on staff and on patient safety.
But it is vital that patients use the service responsibly – for example only calling 999 for an ambulance when there is a real emergency.This confirms the findings from the NHS staff survey that shows much greater pressure on staff in the ambulance service than any other part of the NHS.The pressure on workers is mounting and the apparent lack of support from their employers means they are suffering in silence. Year after year the levels of stress remain unacceptably high and yet neither employers nor the government have done anything to address this.”