Agonising Pain Clinic Dispute
UNISON Members have been given no job descriptions, rotas and even bases to work from less than a month from being transferred to a private company.
The pain clinic services which are currently being delivered by United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT) are being TUPE transferred to Connect Health after Lincs West CCG commissioned the move. Due to start the new service on 1st April 2019, UNISON has been left with no alternative but to enter into dispute with Connect.
Regional Organiser for UNISON, Scott Kingswood said “Our members are anxious and frightened for their jobs and patients’ safety. Connect have recently met with our members but shared no meaningful information about their plans for running the service, where our members will be working from, when they’re expecting to be at work or even what jobs they will be expected to do. They can’t even tell patients what to expect, or even if they will receive a service on April 1st, because they don’t know”
Connect are obliged to consult with our members but the consultation has not been carried out well. Little information has been shared and some questions raised by our members have had shocking replies. According to one member, when querying if Connect were planning to support the re-registration of Nurses with the NMC (Nursing & Midwifery Council), our member was asked “what’s the NMC?”
Scott has been working closely with ULHT Head of HR operations Karen Taylor in raising serious concerns with Connect and the commissioning CCG. So far, both Connect and the CCG have failed to offer any proper explanation or reassurance and have taken no remedial action. A meeting was planned by Karen and agreed for Tuesday 12th March to bring together the Pain Clinic Staff, Connect, the CCG, UNISON and ULHT. Connect pulled out at the last minute and gave every remaining day that week as alternative dates for staff to meet them.
UNISON Is strongly advising members not to meet Connect without a representative and encouraging non-members to join up and allow UNISON to accompany them. It appears to be a Connect tactic to divide the group down to individuals and avoid collective bargaining.
Scott went on to comment, “I worry that any serious care provider cannot know where it plans to work from and what it wants its staff to do. These things should be known well in advance of agreeing a contract, let alone 3 or 4 weeks before a transfer date. This total lack of regard and proper engagement makes me think that whatever plans they do have don’t include our members and that they will be made redundant.”
If the dispute remains unresolved by April 1st, and if Connect fail to properly bargain with UNISON and provide proper reassurances and take action, UNISON will seek to take legal action on behalf of its members.