Trust update: improving working conditions

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Last week a joint working group, made up of managers and UNISON staffside met. 

This was in response to staff concerns raised in UNISON’s #PBTH survey, which identified the main stressors staff are facing. The top three stressors identified are late finishes, individual performance management (including PDRs based on performance management and not development), and sickness absence management. 

The key decisions made during the week were: 

1. Development of a proposal to help reduce late finishes which will be reviewed by the Trust Board

2. Stopping the existing PDR process, as the group agreed that the current PDRs were not fit for purpose

3. Stopping the use of arbitrary individual performance measures for staff, such as generic mobilisation targets and greening up at hospitals

4. Development of a new sickness absence policy, which will be supported by a new set of guidelines and training for managers. 

The group recognised that the existing policy around late finishes was not working. As new frontline staff continue to be recruited it will help ease the pressure on staff and reduce late finishes. There was joint agreement that implementing supportive changes over the issues identified will help retention, reduce sickness levels and make EEAST a more supportive, sustainable organisation. The group has agreed a number of measures and proposals which will be reviewed by the Trust Board. 

These measures and proposals include extending the exclusion of some categories of calls in the last 30 and 60 minutes of a shift, crews going X-ray once they book green if their travel time back to base will take them past their end of shift and actively managing end of shift to proactively ease pressures 

The proposals and agreements will be discussed by the Trust Board to evaluate and consider the patient safety risks on 30th April.

The working group agreed to immediately cease the current PDR process and the use of arbitrary measures to performance manage staff. A task and finish group will rapidly develop a new PDR process. The aim is to have this completed by the end of April. 

The group recognised that the new sickness absence management policy was less supportive and have drafted a new policy. Staffside, HR and the training team will be developing a new sickness absence management procedure so it is very clear how the policy should be applied giving greater consistently and fairness for staff. 

The new policy and procedure will be signed off at the Staff Partnership Forum (SPF) meeting in May, at which point training for managers will also be rolled out in partnership with UNISON. 

The working group also agreed that a pilot of a new lone worker policy, that was put forwards by UNISON at the January SPF, will be piloted in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.They also discussed how to improve partnership working to better support staff going forward. As a result the partnership working forums will be reprioritised and a number of additional working groups will be created. 

The group agreed that to maintain the momentum of positive working, SPF will develop a forward work plan to tackle other issues staff have identified such as problems with annual leave. 

Further updates on progress will be included in Need to Know.

Download a copy of the update to print and display on stations/offices here.

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