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See the latest update for GMB members in the NHS and ambulance service

GMB MEMBERS MASSIVELY REJECT NHS PAY DEAL STRIKE BALLOT TO FOLLOW

Date: 24/09/2021

GMB members working across all occupations in the NHS and Ambulance Services have overwhelmingly rejected the Government’s 3% Pay Award.

As a Union, we are now moving towards formal industrial action ballots and GMB Regions are working at pace to identify key targets and timelines in the next phase of this campaign.

Regular updates will be available throughout this process, so it is essential that we have your correct contact details, employment details and you have given us permission to contact you by phone, text, email and post. You can update your details at gmb.org.uk/mygmb

We understand that the 3% has now been imposed and is arriving in people’s pay packets. This does not mean that our campaign for Pay Justice is over. In fact, it has only confirmed what we have said – that 3% was another real terms pay cut and the reality for the majority of NHS workers. The pay increase, plus back pay and pension arrears, has actually resulted in many workers seeing a reduction in their monthly take home pay.

A Paramedic at the top of Band 6 Paramedic facing a £60 per month reduction, or £726 per year less than before the 3% pay award.

In addition to this, inflation is at 4.8%. Also, national insurance contributions are due to increase which means the average NHS worker will pay more than £500 extra per year. 

You can see how much money you have lost over the last decade in real terms using our Pay Loss Calculator.

GMB Union is still fighting for 15%, or £2 per hour (whichever is the greatest) and will continue to lobby government on this issue. We have written to the Secretary of State, urging him to meet with GMB and enter into meaningful discussions as to how he intends to truly recognise and reward NHS and Ambulance Service workers for their work.

 

Date: 22/09/2021

HEALTH & SOCIAL CARE

COVID-19 & FLU VACCINATION SURVEY

The Government in England made it law that all workers in adult residential care homes had to be Covid-19 vaccinated as a requirement of their employment. This will become law in England with effect from 11th November. GMB is opposed to mandatory vaccination of any worker and we stated this in our submission into the Government consultation on the issue.

Government in England have now launched a further consultation which seeks to:

  • Extend the requirement for mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations to wider social care settings, including domiciliary care.
  • Extend to health care settings.
  • Make the flu vaccine mandatory for workers in health and social care settings.

GMB will be making a submission into this consultation to ensure the voices of our health and social care members are heard. We want to understand all the views of our members on this latest consultation. In order to do this, we have created this survey.

This proposal is one being made by the Government in England only. However, GMB has chosen to include our members outside of England in this survey so that they too can have their voices heard – so members in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are also encouraged to complete the survey.

Your answers will help us to understand the views of all of our members and ensure that all viewpoints are represented where possible. 

This survey is totally confidential. Your manager will not know if you have completed it. We will use the results in our submission into this Government Consultation.

The more people that complete the survey, the stronger our evidence will become. So please do consider sharing this survey with other members and colleagues working in social care. It should take only a few minutes of your time to complete.

You can complete the survey online at gmb.org.uk/21vax 

This survey closes on Friday 8th October 2021

Not a GMB member

Join today and get involved – gmb.org.uk/join                

Check out the NHS Hub at - We're campaigning for pay justice in our NHS

 

Date: 20/09/21

Health Secretary must meet with GMB Union members after more than 9 in 10 oppose pay ‘insult’ 

More than 9 out of 10 GMB members in the NHS have rejected the Government’s pay ‘insult’. GMB will now move to a strike ballot after 93% of members opposed the settlement and urges Health Secretary Sajid Javid to meet with NHS members to avoid industrial action.  

Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer, said:  

GMB members across the NHS have overwhelmingly rejected the offer. We now have no alternative as a union but to trigger industrial action ballots.

The result is no surprise – a 3% pay increase is an insult after ten years of pay cuts under the Conservatives. With inflation at 4.8%, this settlement amounts to yet another real terms pay cut. On top of that, GMB analysis shows the average NHS worker will pay more than £500 extra a year in increased National Insurance contributions.

Our members are already working above and beyond their contracts and the NHS can’t continue to survive on this goodwill any longer.  We are seeking urgent talks with the Health Secretary. He must meet NHS workers and discuss how to recognise and reward the true value of what they are doing.  

Our health workers deserve a restorative 15% pay increase, not yet more salt in their wounds.”  

Further updates to follow in the coming weeks.  

Not a GMB member?  

Join today and get involved - Join the union for NHS staff today

Check out the NHS Hub at - We're campaigning for pay justice in our NHS

Past Bulletins

Date: 08/09/21

TIME IS RUNNING OUT TO HAVE YOUR SAY ON YOUR PAY!!

GMB’S ballot closes on Friday 17th September 2021.

Have you had your say on your pay yet?

You may have heard that the 3% pay award from Government will be in your pay packets this month. This is because the Government chose to use the NHS Pay Review Body Process rather than negotiate with recognised health unions. However, your VOTE is still Crucial!  We need to send a clear message to Government that you do not agree that 3% is a fair pay offer – we can only do this by showing them that GMB members have voted in huge numbers to say you do not accept it. Once we have that mandate from you, our members, to say no to the 3%, we can approach the Government for more.

GMB still believes that only a restorative increase of 15% would be sufficient to reward NHS workers and assist in the crucial task of retaining staff after the pandemic. Your GMB National NHS Advisory Group and National Ambulance Committee are recommending you Vote to REJECT in the upcoming members ballot. 3% falls far short of what you deserve. Your voice matters. This is your chance to Have Your Say on Your Pay. This is for you to say accept or reject to the 3%.

GMB are balloting members in a variety of ways across the regions – workplace, text, email and post. If you haven’t heard anything yet regarding how you will be able to vote, you can email the ballot contact in your region to ask for a ballot paper:

Birmingham & West Midlands - Stuart.richards@gmb.org.uk

London - NHS@gmblondon.org.uk

Midlands & East Coast - Adele.rice@gmb.org.uk

North West - ballot@gmbnorthwest.co.uk

Northern - Chris.jukes@gmb.org.uk

South West - Mike.payne@gmb.org.uk

Southern - infoso@gmb.org.uk

Yorkshire & North Derbyshire - Wakefield.office@gmb.org.uk

Not a GMB member?

Join today and get involved - Join the union for NHS staff today | GMB

Check out the NHS Hub at - We're campaigning for pay justice in our NHS | GMB

 


Date: 02/09/21

NEW QUARANTINE GUIDANCE

The NHS Staff Council Guidance on Quarantine has been revised by a joint working group of the NHS Staff Council Executive. This includes details on the conditions for re-entering England and leave and pay considerations for those who are required to quarantine.

Read the full guidance on nhsemployers.org

 

MANDATORY VACCINATION FOR PEOPLE WORKING IN CARE HOMES

New Government Regulations come into force on the 11th November 2021 which require care home staff to refuse entry to anybody who cannot provide evidence that they have had two doses of one of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) approved Covid-19 vaccines (unless medically exempt, or in cases of emergency).

All providers delivering NHS funded services into a care home have been advised that they will need to:

  • Be aware of this new Government Regulation and associated guidance.
  • Have actively supported staff to have their first Covid-19 vaccine by 16th September 2021 (this is the latest date to have the first dose of the vaccine and be able to have the second dose before the legislation becomes effective on the 11th November).
  • Carry out proactive workforce planning to ensure:
    • Only staff who are vaccinated, or medically exempt, are ever deployed to enter a care home from 11th November 2021.
    • Service provision is not disrupted once the Regulations come into force.
  • Ensure that relevant staff are able to demonstrate to care home staff, via the NHS Covid Pass service (or other means), that they have either been fully vaccinated or are exempt from the requirement.

Please note, that GMB is opposed to mandatory vaccination of workers and we made this clear in our submission into the Government’s consultation on this issue affecting our social care members. Unfortunately, they pushed ahead with the legislation and this requirement for the adult social care workforce, and anyone entering care homes (excluding family and friends and those who are medically exempt) becomes law on 11th November 2021. Without a challenge to that law we will not be able to change the rules on this.

However, although this will soon be a requirement for those working in adult social care homes, this is not a requirement of being employed in the NHS. Therefore, if any healthcare worker is not covid vaccinated, alternative duties or roles will need to be considered on an individual basis with the employer. We are aware that some employers in the NHS and PTS have made threats regarding dismissal. Members should be advised not to resign and regions will consider any future dismissals as a result of this as potentially unfair and seek legal advice.

Please also note, we are expecting Government to launch a consultation imminently on extending the requirement of mandatory vaccination across the whole of the health service. GMB will of course be making a submission into the consultation. 

 

Operation guidance can be accessed at gov.uk

FAQs can be accessed at england.nhs.uk - C1372-FAQs-re-Vaccinations-for-NHS-staff-entering-care-homes_Aug21.pdf

The Regulations can be accessed at legislation.gov.uk - Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 

 

AEROSOL GENERATING PROCEDURES ALLIANCE – CHANGE OF NAME

GMB is part of the AGP Alliance, along with many other unions and healthcare organisation. The man purpose of the group was to lobby Government and PHE to influence change and try to secure increased PPE protection for our members working across the healthcare sector.

As we have learned more about Covid-19, the remit of the group has evolved. The decision has now been made to change the name of the group to reflect this. Please see below message from the Alliance.

“Dear Alliance colleagues,

Our Alliance was born during different times last year when the exclusion of certain procedures from the Aerosol Generating Procedure list (AGP) had led so many professional organisations to come together in our Alliance. We all had to start somewhere appropriate to our special interests as defined within the then WHO/PHE AGP list which has remained extant throughout the pandemic. This initial concept has been overtaken by the realisation that aerosols are a principle route of transmission of Covid-19 irrespective of procedure. From this, the need for improved ventilation became accepted as advocated by our colleagues in FreshAir NHS. SAGE then stated that simple physics dictates that the greatest risk from aerosols is to be found closest to a source patient- within 1-2m. The evidence that simply breathing, talking, singing, shouting, sneezing or most importantly, coughing produces more aerosol than many so-called AGPs means that risk is independent of procedure and is dictated by proximity. Improved ventilation, whilst vitally important, does not adequately mitigate against close quarter transmission.  It follows that any HCW providing care to an infected or suspected C-19 patient within 2m must be exposed to transmission by aerosol, and that measures to protect that HCW must take these facts into account.

For these reasons, the concept of an AGP list should become redundant/obsolete and replaced by risk assessment which takes due regard to the proximity of any HCW to an infected patient. We know that use of FFP3 masks or respirator hoods reduces the risk to the wearer compared to FRSMs which continue to be advised in PHE/IPC guidance despite the recent subtle change to include risk assessment leading to potential use of FFP3 masks.

We have received a number of calls to change our name from Alliance members and those working in close partnership with us. The name of our Alliance is therefore out of date and no longer indicates our objectives which remain unchanged. If we are to successfully remove the concept of NGT insertion, dysphagia assessments, paramedic care in ambulances, community nursing contacts, chest physiotherapy, CPR, respiratory or GI function tests as being NON-AGP, we must succeed in altering current guidance on close range risk. This means the removal of the AGP list in favour of a risk mitigation following proper risk assessment including that pertaining to aerosol risk at close range irrespective of procedure. The objective of making all procedures safer is still the same but the means to that end have changed.

Instead, we will operate under the new title: Covid Airborne Protection Alliance (CAPA)”

 

COVID AIRBORNE PROTECTION ALLIANCE (CAPA) UPDATE

The latest contribution to our campaign to improve PPE for all Health Care Workers has appeared in the prestigious Health Service Journal.

Read the full article: When it comes to staff safety during the pandemic, the buck stops with chief executives | (hsj.co.uk)

It links to a letter from Kevin Bampton, CEO of BOHS (British Occupational Hygiene Society) which has very close ties with HSE. - https://www.hsj.co.uk/download?ac=3052330

An important publication from the BMA is also referenced - bma-covid-19-reducing-infection-risk-to-staff-in-healthcare-settings-august-2021.pdf

These sources can be used to influence those Trusts still following PHE IPC guidance on AGPs and ignoring aerosol transmission. 

 

Date: 13/08/21

PAY UPDATE

ENGLAND & WALES – GMB BALLOT OPEN

GMB’s NHS Pay Consultation Ballot on the Government’s 3% has been open for a week. The ballot closes on Friday 17th September 2021. Have you had your say on your pay yet?

GMB believes that only a restorative increase of 15% would be sufficient to reward NHS workers and assist in the crucial task of retaining staff after the pandemic.

Your GMB National NHS Advisory Group and National Ambulance Committee are recommending you Vote to REJECT in the upcoming members ballot. 3% falls far short of what you deserve. Your VOTE is Crucial. This is your chance to Have Your Say on Your Pay. This is for you to say accept or reject to the 3%.

GMB are balloting members in a variety of ways across the regions – workplace, text, email and post. If you haven’t heard anything yet regarding how you will be able to vote, you can email the ballot contact in your region for details:

 

Birmingham & West Midlands

 

 

Stuart.richards@gmb.org.uk

 

London

 

 

NHS@gmblondon.org.uk

 

 

Midlands & East Coast

 

 

Adele.rice@gmb.org.uk

 

North West

 

 

ballot@gmbnorthwest.co.uk

 

 

Northern

 

 

Chris.jukes@gmb.org.uk

 

South West

 

 

Mike.payne@gmb.org.uk

 

Southern

 

 

infoso@gmb.org.uk

 

Yorkshire & North Derbyshire

 

 

Wakefield.office@gmb.org.uk

 

KEEPING SAFE AT WORK

GMB’s priority remains in keeping our members safe at work which is why throughout the Pandemic we have been regularly updating our Coronavirus Hub with all the information you need to keep yourself safe.

Visit The Coronavirus Hub

If you have concerns that you may have contracted Covid-19 in the workplace, please record your details on the GMB COVID-19 Risk Register.

 

ARE YOUR CONTACT DETAILS CORRECT?

It is essential that your membership details are up to date so that we can ensure you are kept up to date with advice and guidance relevant to you.

You can update your details by contacting your local GMB Representative or online

 

GMB NHS Pay Day of Action: Tuesday 17th August 2021

Several GMB Regions are organising a series of demos outside hospitals and ambulance sites on Tuesday 17th August, between 12pm – 2pm.

These events will provide members who have not yet voted, the opportunity to cast their vote on the day.

Non members will also be able to join GMB and get a vote too!

Events confirmed in Southern Region will be at:

  • Conquest Hospital, St Leonards on Sea
  • Dorset County Hospital, Dorchester
  • Eastbourne General Hospital
  • Kent & Canterbury Hospital, Canterbury
  • King Edward Hospital, Windsor
  • London Ambulance Service HQ, Waterloo, London SE1
  • Maudsley Hospital, Denmark Hill, London SE5
  • Medway Maritime Hospital, Gillingham
  • Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth
  • Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading
  • Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton
  • St George’s Hospital, Tooting
  • Wexham Park Hospital, Slough
  • Worthing Hospital

GMB Southern Region | NHS Day of Action on 17th August

There are more events to be confirmed across London and Birmingham & West Midlands Regions on the same day, with one already confirmed at Northampton General Hospital.

GMB Birmingham & West Midlands will also be doing a LIVE Facebook event on Wednesday 8th September 2021. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for more details: GMB West Midlands

Want to know if there is an event happening near you? Contact your local GMB Representative for more details.

 

ENGLAND ONLY

SELF-ISOLATION EXEMPTION

From Monday 16 August, people who have had both doses of the Covid-19 vaccination or are aged under 18 will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case. The change was announced last month, as part of step 4 of the Government’s COVID-19 roadmap. With 75% of people having received both doses of the vaccine, the majority of adults will no longer need to self-isolate if they are contacts.

As of Monday, double jabbed individuals and under 18s who are identified as close contacts by NHS Test and Trace will be advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible to check if they have the virus and for variants of concern. People can order a PCR home test online or by calling 119, or going to a test site.

As double jabbed people identified as close contacts are still at risk of being infected, people are advised to consider other precautions such as wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces, and limit contact with other people, especially with anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable. They will not be required to self-isolate while they wait for the results of the PCR test.

Anyone who tests positive following the PCR test will still be legally required to self-isolate, irrespective of their vaccination status or age in order to break onwards chains of transmission. Meanwhile anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate and get a PCR test, and remain in isolation until the result comes back.

From Monday, most double vaccinated health and social care staff who are close contacts of cases will be able to routinely return to work, provided they have had a negative PCR test. Daily LFD tests will need to be taken for 10 days as a precaution. Staff working with clinically extremely vulnerable patients or service users will need a risk assessment to be carried out by a designated person in the workplace before they return to work.

This new guidance supersedes previous Public Health England (PHE) guidance and applies to all staff, including substantive clinical and non-clinical roles, bank staff, contractors and suppliers, and students, working in all facilities, settings and organisations delivering NHS care.

The following safeguards must be implemented for workers to safely attend work and be exempt from isolation:

  • A negative PCR test prior to returning to their NHS workplace. Staff should not attend work whilst waiting for the result.
  • Have received both doses of the vaccination at least 14 days previously.
  • Daily LFD tests for a minimum of 10 days. If a positive test result is received at any time, they should isolate and arrange to take a PCR test.
  • Must not have any Covid-19 symptoms.
  • Continued use of IPC measures, in line with current UK IPC Guidance.
  • Must be an up-to-date individual risk assessment and be working in an appropriate setting for their risk status, including redeployment to lower risk areas where appropriate.

If any of the above criteria cannot be met, or they have not had two doses of the vaccine, or they are living directly (same household) with a positive contact, they should continue to isolate in line with government guidance.

To support staff and to protect patients and services, NHS providers and primary care organisations, should ensure that:

  • One to one conversations continue with any member of staff or student who has not had both doses of the vaccine.
  • Robust local monitoring processes are in place for regular staff and student testing.
  • Staff are offered continuous learning regarding UK IPC guidance.

Providing all of the qualifying criteria is met, the individual may be exempt from isolation and return to work. This exemption will also apply for outside of work, unlike the previous exemption.

The Government press release regarding this can be accessed at: Self-isolation removed for double jabbed close contacts from 16 August

Prerana Issar, NHS Chief People Officer and others, have written to system leaders regarding these changes. The letter can be accessed at: C1381-Updated-guidance-on-NHS-staff-and-student-self-isolation-and-return-to-work-following-COVID-19-contact.pdf

 

MANDATORY VACCINATION FOR PEOPLE WORKING IN CARE HOMES

Government in England have introduced legislation that requires all staff working in adult residential social care to have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccination. This becomes effective on 11th November and extends to all other professionals entering care homes to deliver services, other than in an emergency.

Therefore, NHS and ambulance workers who are required to perform part of their duties in care homes, will also be required to evidence that they are in receipt of both doses of the vaccine, unless medically exempt.

Guidance is due to be issued to system leaders so that they can begin to prepare to ensure services are not disrupted as a result.

There are a number of exemptions set out in the regulations. Exemptions relevant for NHS commissioned services include:

  • People who have evidence of a medical exemption
  • Members of the health service deployed for emergency response, which for the NHS means staff deployed as part of an emergency ambulance response, including community first responders.
  • Under 18s Frontline health and care staff aged 16 or over are eligible for a vaccine and should make sure they get a full course of an MHRA approved COVID-19 vaccine before they turn 18. All 17 year olds will be able to book a vaccine up to 3 months before their 18th birthday. Visiting professionals who are under 18 will be able to enter the care home without showing proof of vaccination status, but may need to demonstrate proof that they are under 18.

Medical exemption eligibility will reflect the Green Book on Immunisation against infectious disease (COVID-19: the green book, chapter 14a) and clinical advice from The Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Redeployment may need to be considered for affected staff choosing not to be vaccinated.

If you have any concerns regarding this, please speak to your local GMB Representative.

You can access GMB’s Vaccine Statement at: Vaccination | GMB

Date: 30/07/2021

GMB BALLOT DETAILS

Government have now made their announcement on what this year’s NHS pay increase will be. Not only is it almost four months late, it is also still a real terms pay cut of 3%. GMB will now be balloting all eligible GMB members.

The GMB pay claim as agreed by the NHS National Advisory Group and National Ambulance Committee was:

  • 15%, or £2 per hour, whichever is the greatest.
  • Unsocial hours enhancements to be paid to all staff when on sick leave.
  • Commitment that NHS pay will never fall below a Real Living Wage again.

GMB believes that only a restorative increase of 15% would be sufficient to reward NHS workers and assist in the crucial task of retaining staff after the pandemic.

Your GMB National NHS Advisory Group and National Ambulance Committee are recommending you Vote to REJECT in the upcoming members ballot. 3% falls far short of what you deserve. Your VOTE is Crucial. This is your chance to Have Your Say on Your Pay. This is for you to say accept or reject to the 3%.

Ballot Opens

Friday 6th August 2021

Ballot Closes

Friday 17th September 2021

 

Are your contact details correct?

To ensure you receive your ballot paper, make sure that you are opted into receiving communications from GMB. You can update your details by contacting your local GMB Representative or online @ mygmb

 

Not a GMB member?

Join the union for NHS staff today!

Check out the NHS Hub: We're campaigning for pay justice in our NHS!

 

Date: 19/07/2021

SELF-ISOLATION EXEMPTION

As Government stick to their ‘Freedom Day’ plans of easing all restrictions and mandatory mask wearing, Covid-19 cases continue to rise, and hospitals and ambulance services continue to face severe demand pressures. Chronic staffing shortages prior to the Pandemic are being made worse as absences increase due to fatigue, exhaustion, stress and anxiety and the thought of another wave of Covid-19, and the infamous ping of the Covid App.

The latest ill thought through response to this is to exempt health and social care workers for self-isolation guidance to allow them to attend work – and work only.

The latest guidance issued overnight, exempts health and social care workers from self-isolation so that they can attend work. However, they must go straight home after their shift, as the exemption doesn’t apply to their personal life such as going to the supermarket or picking children up from school.

The guidance also requires daily testing of double vaccinated staff, the continued wearing of PPE – which GMB believes still does not offer the highest level of protection we believe our members need.

The guidance also requires for these workers not to be allowed to work with clinically vulnerable people, which is possibly most residents in care homes and patients who are ill in hospital.

GMB members are furious about this latest display of complete disregard for their health and safety. GMB will be working with local reps and members to ensure that their health and safety is a priority.

You can read GMBs press statement at: Health and social care workers self-isolation exemption 'one rule for them, one rule for us' | GMB

If you have concerns, please speak direct to your local GMB Representative.

NHS PATIENTS, STAFF & VISITORS MUST CONTINUE TO WAER FACE COVERINGS IN HEALTHCARE SETTINGS

Government has confirmed that whilst Covid-19 restrictions will end in many settings in England today, Public Health England’s Infection, Prevention and Control Guidelines and Hospital Visiting Guidance will remain in place for staff and visitors across all health services.

Staff, patients and visitors will also be expected to continue to follow social distancing rules when visiting any care setting as well as using face coverings, masks and other Personal Protective Equipment.

These principles apply to all health settings, including those in the independent / private sector e.g. hospital, GP, dentist, pharmacy, etc.

GMB supports this position. We have also issued a wider joint statement with organisations on the AGP Alliance. You can read this at: Don’t abandon masks and social distancing yet, health professionals urge the public - British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS)

You can read the NHS wide press statement on this at: NHS England » NHS Patients, staff and visitors must continue to wear face coverings in healthcare settings

FLU VACCINATION

Government have now published their annual national flu immunisation programme plan.

Health and social care workers are encouraged to be vaccinated. You can read full details about this, including information on considerations being given into how this plan will work alongside the Covid-19 vaccination programme and possible boosters.

National flu immunisation programme 2021 to 2022 letter - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

KEEPING SAFE AT WORK

GMB’s priority remains in keeping our members safe at work which is why throughout the Pandemic we have been regularly updating our Coronavirus Hub with all the information you need to keep yourself safe.

Visit The Coronavirus Hub

If you have concerns that you may have contracted Covid-19 in the workplace, please record your details on the GMB COVID-19 Risk Register.

ARE YOUR CONTACT DETAILS CORRECT?

It is essential that your membership details are up to date so that we can ensure you are kept up to date with advice and guidance relevant to you.

You can update your details by contacting your local GMB Representative or online

Not a GMB Member? Join the union for NHS staff today

 Would you like more information in becoming a GMB Representative in your Workplace? Click ‘Want to get more involved’ on the NHS dedicated campaign page We're campaigning for pay justice in our NHS

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Date: 14/07/2021

NHS PAY 2021 UPDATE

We are still waiting for the Government’s announcement on the pay award for NHS workers. The Pay Review Body (PRB) have made their recommendations to Government. We will not know what recommendation has been made by the PRB until it is published, usually at the same time as the Government’s announcement on what the pay award will be.

It is expected that Government will make their statement on pay ahead of Parliament breaking for Summer recess on 22nd July 2021.

Once the Government’s announcement on pay has been made, your GMB National NHS Advisory Group and National Ambulance Committee will meet to discuss the pay award and determine GMBs position and any recommendation we will make with regards the pay award. An update will then be issued to members which will outline that position and give details of the upcoming ballot.

It is important to note at this stage, that this is not a negotiation between Government, NHS Employers and recognised Unions. This pay award has been made by Government using the NHS Pay Review Body process. This mechanism does not require the assent of trade unions before implementation. However, GMB will still be balloting all members on the pay award to determine whether you think it is a reasonable and acceptable offer. This will be your chance to have your say on your pay.

What we do know for sure at this time, is that we really do not have any time to waste in ensuring we are ballot and action ready. We are facing a ballot period over the summer in England and it is essential that we have the correct contact and employment details for each and every one of our GMB members that will be impacted by the pay award. GMB is committed to giving all members a vote, so to ensure you have your say on your pay, please make sure we have the correct contact details for you.

 

Are your contact details correct?

Make sure that you are opted into receiving communications from GMB.

You can update your details by contacting your local GMB Representative or online using the GMB website at https://gmb.org.uk/mygmb-edit

 

GMB Pay Claim

As we wait to hear what the Government intend to award for this year’s pay, here is a reminder of the GMB Claim:

  • 15%, or £2 per hour increase (whichever is the greatest)
  • Unsocial Hours’ Payments to be paid to all staff when on sick leave
  • Commitment that NHS Pay will never fall below a Real Living Wage again

GMB Union believes that pay justice in the form of a restorative increase to replace lost real time earnings over the last decade is essential to reward and retain all NHS key workers.

If you want more details you can access them via the Reps Resources section of the GMB NHS Pay Campaign Hub - Rep resources | GMB

 

GMB will continue to fight for pay justice for our members, but we need your help to do so.

If you are not in the GMB, join.

Become an activist.

Spread the word that this time NHS workers are fighting back.

 

WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO TO HELP?

Not a GMB member?

Join the union for NHS staff today and get involved!

A GMB member already?

Get involved!

  • Contact your local GMB Representative and ask for details on what you can do to spread the message of the GMB Pay Justice Campaign and help get that crucial vote out. Don’t know who your GMB Representative is? Email your details to NHS@gmb.org.uk
  • Visit our campaign page for more information and links to actions you can take 
  • Become a GMB Representative or Contact in your Workplace. Register your interest via the website campaign page
  • Share your story with us, so that we can share it for you
  • Speak to your colleagues about the campaign, ask them to join GMB and get involved themselves
  • Keep up to date with campaign messages by following us on Facebook – GMB Union NHS Workers and on Twitter @GMBNHS

 

Date: 08/07/2021

LONG COVID

At the start of the Pandemic, temporary workforce guidance was issued by the Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC). One part of this guidance was enhanced provisions for ‘Covid-19 Sick Pay’. This included:

  • The pausing of normal sickness provisions (Section 14, England) in the NHS terms and conditions of service handbook for staff covered by these provisions, for the duration of the pandemic for COVID-19 related sickness absence.
  • All staff who are off sick with COVID-19 to be paid full pay as if at work via the use of the temporary COVID-19 sick pay provisions.
  • A separate recording system for any COVID-19 related sickness absence.
  • The disregarding of any sickness absence related to COVID-19 for the purposes of sickness absence triggers or sickness management policies.

These provisions remain in place. However, there are a number of staff across the NHS who are still suffering with symptoms as a result of contracting covid. Long covid is impacting people differently and some staff may be off work long term, others however, may be experiencing intermittent symptoms and absences.

New guidance has now been published to encourage employers to support staff suffering from long covid is a supportive and sensitive manner.

You can access the full guidance via the NHS employers website - Joint statements and papers - NHS Employers

There are also many other resources regarding long covid which may be of interest:

 

ASYMPTOMATIC TESTING OF STAFF

Revised guidance for the asymptomatic testing of staff has now been published alongside new Frequently Asked Questions.

From July 2021 all NHS staff will move to a new system where they will be able to order their own LFD testing kits from www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests

The testing kits will enable staff to carry out regular testing for COVID-19 at home. The test kits provided via the new system may be different type, it is important that staff familiarise themselves with the tests and the instruction leaflet each time they receive a new box. This move will not only make best use of LFDs currently available to Test and Trace but will also provide a greater level of assurance by organisation that devices are routinely being ordered and used.

The statutory requirement to report all test results has not changed and staff must report all results in line with their organisation’s policy Before moving to the new system trusts are to use up their existing stock of Innova 25s and should continue to provide staff with boxes until they have run out.

The new guidance can be accessed at: Report template - NHSI website (england.nhs.uk)

FAQs for staff working in NHS Trusts can be accessed at: index.php (hiowccgpartnership.nhs.uk)

 

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)

Government have made announcements regarding ‘Freedom Day’ on the 19th July – a date when mask wearing will become personal choice for members of the public.

We have now been informed that healthcare setting will be excluded from this. So, members of the public will still be expected to wear masks in healthcare settings. Government have advised that they need to do more communications on this as that message isn’t clear.

GMB continues to campaign for increased levels of PPE to be made available for all health and social care workers working with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 patients. We also continue to work with other health organisations and unions as a part of the AGP Alliance to pursue this aim.

In June, representatives from the AGP Alliance met with the DHSC, PHE and NHSEI regarding the campaign. All parties have committed to continuing to meet to discuss concerns and review evidence as it emerges.

Updates will continue to be shared via this bulletin.

You may find the recently published study by Addenbrookes Hospital interesting -  https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/upgrading-ppe-for-staff-working-on-covid-19-wards-cut-hospital-acquired-infections-dramatically

 

KEEPING SAFE AT WORK

GMB’s priority remains in keeping our members safe at work which is why throughout the Pandemic we have been regularly updating our Coronavirus Hub with all the information you need to keep yourself safe.

Visit The Coronavirus Hub

You can also access NHS & Ambulance Service specific Frequently Asked Questions

If you have concerns that you may have contracted Covid-19 in the workplace, please record your details on the GMB COVID-19 Risk Register.

 

ARE YOUR CONTACT DETAILS CORRECT?

It is essential that your membership details are up to date so that we can ensure you are kept up to date with advice and guidance relevant to you.

You can update your details by contacting your local GMB Representative or online

Not a GMB Member? Join the union for NHS staff today

 Would you like more information in becoming a GMB Representative in your Workplace? Click ‘Want to get more involved’ on the NHS dedicated campaign page We're campaigning for pay justice in our NHS

Follow and like our Facebook Page

Follow us on Twitter - @GMBNHS

Date: 18/06/2021

COVID-19 VACCINATION

The Covid-19 vaccination programme in England continues to be working well. Data received on 15th June, highlighted that over 60.5 million vaccine doses have been administered in six months and confidence remains in how effective they are.

95% of healthcare staff have received their first dose of the vaccine and over 80% have received their second dose.  Take up has also increased amongst younger women and people from Black Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, but work does still continue within communities to address vaccine hesitancy.

Due to concerns regarding the Delta variant, efforts are being made to try to bring forward second doses to an earlier date thank initially scheduled, as the first dose does help with transmissibility, but second doses are still crucial for protection.

Considerations are still being given as to what the Booster vaccine and programme will look like, but it is expected that JCVI will prioritise health and social care workers.

More support has been provided to Primary Care to assist them in delivering the vaccine at the scale and pace needed.

Considerations are also being given to how this year’s flu vaccination programme will align with the Covid-19 vaccination programme and potential Boosters.

 

COVID-19 VACCINATION SELF-REFERRAL BOOKING PORTAL

It has been confirmed to unions that the Portal is still available for health and social care workers to use to book their vaccination and there are not any suggestions that it will be removed. Most people are being picked up via the main routes but this will remain as an additional route for staff to access vaccines.

Using the National Booking Service is quick and simple. You can do it online at nhs.uk/CovidVaccination, or by calling 119 if you can’t use the internet.

 

MANDATORY VACCINATION FOR SOCIAL CARE WORKERS

The Government’s consultation on mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for social care workers has now closed and disappointingly Ministers have decided to make Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory for some of the social care workforce.

GMB union supports vaccinations. However, we do not support the forcing of vaccinations on health and social care workers. We believe there is a lot more that Government could do to understand vaccine hesitancy amongst the social care workforce and put more education and measures in place to address concerns. Instead, some social care workers are facing dismissal from employment in 16 weeks if they are not vaccinated (except for those with specified medical exemptions).

You can read our response to the announcement, where we called it an ‘Ill thought through’ plan to mandate vaccinations could lead to care staff ‘exodus’

 

Government have now also stated that they intend to launch a consultation on extending mandatory vaccinations to the healthcare workforce and to also include the flu vaccination. Once the consultation is launched, GMBs National NHS Advisory Group and National Ambulance Committee will consider before determining how we will respond.

You can read GMBs statement on vaccinations at: Vaccination

 

Date: 17/06/2021

OVERTIME PAYMENTS & PAY DURING ANNUAL LEAVE - ENGLAND ONLY

Negotiations to attempt to resolve the long-standing issue of overtime and additional hours not being included in annual leave payments concluded at the end of March 2021. Agreement was reached on a corrective settlement going back two financial years. However, agreement was not reached on how future calculations would be made and employers committed to resolving this as soon as possible. This bulletin is intended to give GMB members an update on all outstanding issues.

Full details, including a Frequently Asked Questions document can be accessed by the NHS Employers website at: Overtime payments and pay during annual leave - NHS Employers

 

Corrective Settlement:

To be eligible, an individual must have worked and been paid for overtime or additional hours, in four or more months of one, or both, of financial years April 2019 – March 2020, and April 2020 – March 2021.

A corrective settlement payment will be offered by local employers to eligible individuals. This will be 16% of the overtime or additional hours payments they received in one, or both of the financial years. It is expected that this payment will be made by local employers by September 2021. An Equality Impact Assessment has been undertaken which local employers need to be mindful of when identifying and paying eligible individuals - link below.

Since agreement was reached, employers have been working to calculate payment for eligible staff. These corrective payments should be made to all eligible staff by 30th September 2021. You should be contacted by your employer if you are eligible for a corrective settlement payment. If you have not been contacted and believe you are eligible, please raise this direct with your employer and speak to your GMB representative for support if required.

 

Existing Claimants:

Unions Solicitors are still in negotiations with employer solicitors on outstanding legal claims. If you have a claim lodged with the union solicitors, you should continue to seek legal advice and support direct from the solicitors.

 

Future Payments:

Attention is now needed by local employers to fix the issue moving forwards, from 1st April 2021. They must ensure that holiday pay is inclusive of overtime and additional hours.

The solution for the forward fix however has been complicated by several different factors, including the national Electronic Staff Records (ESR) system and local payroll methods of calculating holiday pay. For this reason, a national fix may be some time coming. In the meantime, local employers should be discussing their plans for a local solution with local GMB Representatives to ensure that underpayments do not reoccur.

 

Equality Impacts:

Local partnerships should consider the equality analysis undertaken by the Department of Health and Social Care and discuss how to ensure local solutions are free from any discrimination. The analysis suggests potential areas that employers need to consider when implementing the framework and should also apply to any future solutions.

NHS holiday pay for voluntary overtime: equalities impact assessment - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

 

NHS Pay Latest

We are expecting the Pay Review Body to make their report and recommendations to Government in the next few days. Currently, we do not expect to know the details of their report or recommendations until the Government in England make their statement on what the NHS pay award will be. It is expected that Government will make their statement on pay ahead of Parliament breaking for Summer on 22nd July 2021.

Once the Government’s statement on pay has been made, your GMB National NHS Advisory Group and National Ambulance Committee will meet to discuss the pay award and determine GMBs position. An update will then be issued to members which will outline that position and give details of the upcoming ballot.

What we do know for sure, is that we really do not have any time to waste now in ensuring we are ballot and action ready. We are facing a ballot period over the summer in England and it is essential that we have the correct contact and employment details for each and every one of our GMB members that will be impacted by the pay award. GMB is committed to giving all members a vote, so to ensure you have your say on your pay, please make sure we have the correct contact details for you.

Are your contact details correct?

Make sure that you are opted into receiving communications from GMB.

You can update your details by contacting your local GMB Representative or online at gmb.org.uk/mygmb-edit

GMB Pay Claim

As we wait to hear what the PRB are recommending and what the Government will be awarding, here’s a reminder of the GMB Claim.

  • 15%, or £2 per hour increase (whichever is the greatest)
  • Unsocial Hours’ Payments to be paid to all staff when on sick leave
  • Commitment that NHS Pay will never fall below a Real Living Wage again

GMB Union believes that pay justice in the form of a restorative increase to replace lost real time earnings over the last decade is essential to reward and retain all NHS key workers.

If you want to read more details you can do so via the Reps Resources section of the GMB NHS Pay Campaign Hub - Rep resources

 

National Day of Local Protests – Saturday 3rd July 2021

GMB is proud to be supporting the National Day of Local Protests being organised by Health Campaigns Together, Keep Our NHS Public, NHS Workers Say No and NHS Staff Voices. The theme this year is Pay Justice, Patient Safety and an End to Privatisation.

There are lots of events already organised across England, Wales and Scotland and we want all of our members to get involved. We would love to see lots of GMB members and activists organising pay campaign activities at your workplaces and also supporting local protests and events.

Do you want to organise something at your workplace? Would you like to link up with local campaign groups? Send an email to NHS@gmb.org.uk and we will support you however you need us. This is your campaign!

The full list of organised events so far can be access via the Keep Our NHS Public website - Find your nearest | NHS Anniversary Protests 2021 – Keep Our NHS Public

You can also check out the dedicated Facebook Event Page for the latest information - NHS Anniversary Protests Nationwide

 

WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO TO HELP?                                              

Not a GMB member?

Join today and get involved - Join the union for NHS staff today!

A GMB member already?

Get involved!

  • Contact your local GMB Representative and ask for details on what you can do to spread the message of the GMB Pay Justice Campaign. Don’t know who your GMB Representative is? Email your details to NHS@gmb.org.uk
  • Visit our website campaign page for more information and links to actions you can take We're campaigning for pay justice in our NHS
  • Become a GMB Representative or Contact in your Workplace. Register your interest via the website campaign page We're campaigning for pay justice in our NHS
  • Share your story with us, so that we can share it for you
  • Speak to your colleagues about the campaign, ask them to join GMB and get involved themselves
  • Keep up to date with campaign messages by following us on Facebook – GMB Union NHS Workers and on Twitter @GMBNHS

 

Date: 11/06/2021

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)

GMB continues to work with other health organisations and unions as a part of the AGP Alliance to call for increased levels of PPE for health and social care workers.

We have now submitted evidence into the Public Accounts Committee on initial lessons from the Government’s response to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Read the submission to the Public Accounts committee.

The meeting to discuss the concerns has also now taken place with the Department of Health & Social Care, Public Health England and NHSEI. Please see below statement from the AGP Alliance.

 

Delta variant and surge in COVID-19 positive cases create new urgency for Government Guidance for healthcare Workers to be updated

Representatives from over 20 healthcare organisations, including the AGP alliance* met with DHSC, IPC, NHSEI and PHE on 3 June 2021 to press the Government to change its UK Infection Prevention Control Guidance to reflect short and long-range airborne transmission of COVID-19 and to recognise the need to provide frontline healthcare workers with enhanced PPE.

A presentation was made to the meeting delegates.

Whilst welcoming the Government’s proposal to have further stakeholder meetings, the alliance was both surprised and disappointed that new, compelling scientific evidence and changes to guidance in the US and Europe were not considered strong enough reasons to change their guidance at this time.

The alliance still believes that immediate changes to the guidance are essential. They should not be delayed.

The new Delta variant and recent surges in COVID-19 positive cases make the case urgent for healthcare workers to be fully protected and provided with FFP3 masks when seeing patients. 

* Association for Respiratory Technology & Physiology; BAPEN; British Association of Stroke Physicians; British Dietetic Association; British Society of Gastroenterology; Chartered Society of Physiotherapy; College of Paramedics; Confederation of British Surgery; Doctors Association UK; Fresh Air NHS; GMB Union; Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association; Med Supply Drive; National Nurses Nutrition Group; Queen’s Nursing Institute Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists; Trident HS; Unite the Union.

 

UK INFECTION, PREVENTION & CONTROL (IPC) GUIDANCE - UPDATED

Public Health England has published an update to the IPC Guidance agreed by the UK’s four chief medical and nursing officers.

Amendments have been made to strengthen existing messaging and provide further advice where needed, including updates on the hierarchy of controls, clarity over the use of valved respirators, and highlighting the need to protect those previously shielding and who are considered clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19. Definitions and supporting resources have been added to support risk assessment based on the hierarchy of controls.

A full list of changes to the previous version are listed on page 8 of the guidance. Following continued extensive clinical and scientific review, no changes to the recommendations, including PPE, have been made in response to the new variant strains at this stage, however this position remains under constant review.

Whilst this guidance seeks to ensure a consistent and resilient UK wide approach, some differences in operational details and organisational responsibilities may apply in Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland.

All NHS organisations should ensure reliable application of all IPC recommendations and assurance on adherence, that PPE is available and in supply, and that all staff training is up to date.

COVID-19: infection prevention and control (IPC) Guidance

 

IMMIGRATION HEALTH SURCHARGE

If you work in health and social care and have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge (or it was paid for you and you are now repaying it to an employer), you may be able to claim your money back from HM Government.

Reimbursements are made on a 6-monthly basis in arrears, provided you have worked for an average of at least 16 hours per week over the full period.

Applications are now being processed for the period 1 October 2020 to 31 March 2021, though it is possible to backdate a claim to 31 March 2020 if you haven’t already applied.

You must have worked for at least 16 hours per week during that period, but this can be in more than one eligible job. Reimbursement payments are processed in six-month instalments in arrears.

Eligible applicants can now:

Apply for your immigration health surcharge reimbursement

Immigration health surcharge: applying for reimbursement

Immigration Health Surcharge Research

The NHS BSA are currently working on a piece of research around the Immigration Health Surcharge, which is paid as part of a UK Immigration visa application.

What the research is about

Eligible individuals who have been working in the health and care sector for on average 16 hours per week starting from or after the 31st March 2020 and have paid their IHS, will be able to apply for a reimbursement. We’d like to talk to people who feel they may be eligible for a reimbursement. The research will help us to design a service that meets the needs of the people using it.

What the research involves

Participants will be testing out the online service or a prototype that will help to support people to get a reimbursement. We’d like to get your feedback on what it was like to use and how we could improve it. We may also be conducting short interviews. The research session will take no longer than 1 hour and will be done remotely.

Participants will receive a gift voucher for taking part in this research.

Who can take part
We’d like to talk to a wide range of people in different job roles in the health (NHS) and social care sector e.g. health assistants, care home managers, receptionists or cleaners.

You’ll be over 18 and:  

  • a Tier 2 (General) visa holder
  • a Tier 4 (Student) visa holder who is working in the health and social care sector alongside their studies
  • a dependant of a Tier 2 (General) or Tier 4 (Student) visa holder who is working in the health and the social care sector
  • a dependant of a UK national or another migrant
  • Tier 5 Medical Training Initiative (MTI) visa holder

How to take part

If you’d like to find out more about this research or would like to take part, email  nhsbsa.ihs-research@nhs.net

 

KEEPING SAFE AT WORK

GMB’s priority remains in keeping our members safe at work which is why throughout the Pandemic we have been regularly updating our Coronavirus Hub with all the information you need to keep yourself safe.

Visit The Coronavirus Hub

You can also access NHS & Ambulance Service specific Frequently Asked Questions

If you have concerns that you may have contracted Covid-19 in the workplace, please record your details on the GMB COVID-19 Risk Register.

 

ARE YOUR CONTACT DETAILS CORRECT?

It is essential that your membership details are up to date so that we can ensure you are kept up to date with advice and guidance relevant to you.

You can update your details by contacting your local GMB Representative or online

 

UNION VISITS TO YOUR WORKPLACE

It will be many months before we see a return to any form of ‘normality’. Covid-19 will still present a danger to health care workers and the people you care for. As a result, it means that your GMB Union Representatives may continue to have difficulties visiting you in your workplaces.

However, we want you to know that we are still here. We are considering a variety of ways that we can get information to you and engage with you on your issues in the workplace. One way to do this is to arrange a virtual online meeting for your workplace.

If you would like to book one of these meetings please contact your local GMB representative or email NHS@gmb.org.uk

Not a GMB Member? Join the union for NHS staff today

 Would you like more information in becoming a GMB Representative in your Workplace? Click ‘Want to get more involved’ on the NHS dedicated campaign page We're campaigning for pay justice in our NHS

Follow and like our Facebook Page

Follow us on Twitter - @GMBNHS

Date: 28/05/2021

COVID-19 VACCINATION

51.6 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccinations have been administered in England. Currently vaccines are being offered to 32-year-olds (Cohort 11) and efforts continue on encouraging people to have their second doses.

The variant identified in India is causing concerns and those that are being admitted into hospital with it, are usually those who have not had the vaccine. The offer of a vaccine remains open. If you have been offered the vaccine and previously refused, you can still come forward now and have your vaccination.

Advice regarding second doses of the vaccine have now changed. Individuals in Cohorts 1-9, which includes health and social care workers, are now advised to have their second doses within 8-9 weeks of their first, rather than 11-12 weeks as initially stated. For people in Cohorts 10+, it is still advised that 11-12 weeks will suffice.

An FAQ has been produced on second doses and can be accessed at: C1254-covid-19-vaccination-programme-faqs-on-second-dose-v2.pdf (england.nhs.uk)

 

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)

GMB continues to work with other health organisations and unions as a part of the AGP Alliance to call for increased levels of PPE for health and social care workers.

The meeting to discuss the concerns has been scheduled with the Department of Health & Social Care, Public Health England and NHSEI for 3rd June 2021.

We will continue to push for greater protections for frontline workers to try to reduce morbidity and mortality from Covid-19. It is now widely accepted that there are increased risks due to aerosol transmission and the implications of insufficient PPE and ventilation.

 

INFECTION, PREVENTION & CONTROL (IPC) GUIDANCE

Throughout the Pandemic, there have been many changes made to IPC Guidance in health and social care settings. Links to the current setting specific guidance can now all be accessed in one place.

This includes guidance on PPE and ventilation, primary and secondary care, care homes and social care, community and home care, ambulance and first responders.

You can access this online at: covid-19-compendium-of-guidance-and-information-v7.pdf (england.nhs.uk)

 

TESTING OF ASYMPTOMATIC STAFF IN THE INDEPENDENT SECTOR

Lateral flow testing of asymptomatic staff has now been rolled out to those in the independent sector. Full guidance and FAQs can be accessed at: Coronavirus » Standard operating procedure and frequently asked questions: Rollout of lateral flow devices for asymptomatic staff testing for COVID-19 in the independent sector (england.nhs.uk)

 

QUARANTINE GUIDANCE FOR NURSES ARRIVING IN TO THE NHS FROM OVERSEAS

New guidance has been published which sets standards for NHS Trusts to provide managed quarantine accommodation for internationally recruited nurses who are taking up immediate employment in the NHS in England and who are travelling through red-list countries. These nurses will be exempt from the red-list hotel managed quarantine if compliant NHS Trust arranged accommodation can be used for the duration of the quarantine period. Trusts may choose not to provide accommodation and instead fund the payment of the stay in the red-list managed hotels.

The exemption does not cover nurses already employed by the NHS or nurses returning from abroad for any other reason (e.g. holiday or visiting family).

The full guidance can be accessed at: Quarantine arrangements for exempt nurses arriving from overseas - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The list of red-list of countries is subject to regular amendment.

 

FREE CAR PARKING

At the start of the Pandemic, GMB and other unions called on Ministers to waive on street and in bay car parking charges for health and social care workers, to ensure they were able to travel to and from work in as safe an environment as possible.

With infection rates being on the rise once more, the Pandemic is far from over for our key workers in health and social care.

It is therefore a disgrace, that Government have seen it as being an appropriate time to amend the guidance with an end date of 21st June 2021, without any consultation with or notification to trade unions.

GMB has written to the Secretary of State Matt Hancock, calling for his urgent intervention to reveres this outrageous decision.

You can read a copy of the letter below.

You can read a copy of our press statement at: Government u-turn on free parking for NHS and social care workers 'beyond belief' | GMB

You can read the government guidance at: Coronavirus (COVID-19): health, care and volunteer workers parking pass and concessions - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

 

Date: 13/05/2021

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)

GMB continues to work with many other health unions and organisations as part of the AGP Alliance in the campaign for increased levels of PPE for our health and social care members. Despite emerging evidence regarding the increased risk of airborne transmission of Covid-19, government are still stating that PPE guidance does not need to change.

We are currently waiting for a meeting to be scheduled between professionals from the AGP Alliance and Public Health, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS colleagues. This has been delayed due to elections in Wales and Scotland, but it is hoped a date will be agreed later this week.

Further information on this issue which may be of interest can be accessed at:

 

LONG COVID – TUC SURVEY

The TUC have launched a survey looking into the experiences of people in work with Long Covid. You can complete the survey at: Long Covid at work Survey.

 

COVID-19 SAFETY AT WORK

As more people are vaccinated and lockdown restrictions continue to ease, it is essential that workplaces remain safe for workers. Masks, Air and Distance remain crucial in keeping you safe at work. Face masks, ventilation and social distancing rules should continue to be followed and employers should continue to work with GMB Health and Safety Representatives to review risk assessments.

If you have any concerns about this, please speak to your local GMB Representative.

 

KEEPING SAFE AT WORK

GMB’s priority remains in keeping our members safe at work which is why throughout the Pandemic we have been regularly updating our Coronavirus Hub with all the information you need to keep yourself safe.

Visit The Coronavirus Hub

You can also access NHS & Ambulance Service specific Frequently Asked Questions

If you have concerns that you may have contracted Covid-19 in the workplace, please record your details on the GMB COVID-19 Risk Register.

 

ARE YOUR CONTACT DETAILS CORRECT?

It is essential that your membership details are up to date so that we can ensure you are kept up to date with advice and guidance relevant to you.

You can update your details by contacting your local GMB Representative or online

 

UNION VISITS TO YOUR WORKPLACE

It will be many months before we see a return to any form of ‘normality’. Covid-19 will still present a danger to health care workers and the people you care for. As a result, it means that your GMB Union Representatives may continue to have difficulties visiting you in your workplaces.

However, we want you to know that we are still here. We are considering a variety of ways that we can get information to you and engage with you on your issues in the workplace. One way to do this is to arrange a virtual online meeting for your workplace.

If you would like to book one of these meetings please contact your local GMB representative or email NHS@gmb.org.uk

Not a GMB Member? Join the union for NHS staff today

 Would you like more information in becoming a GMB Representative in your Workplace? Click ‘Want to get more involved’ on the NHS dedicated campaign page We're campaigning for pay justice in our NHS

Follow and like our Facebook Page

Follow us on Twitter - @GMBNHS

Date: 12/05/2021

Scotland NHS

The results are in and GMB members have spoken. GMB have REJECTED the Scottish Government’s Pay Offer by a majority of 82%. A fantastic campaign has been run by the GMB Reps and Officers to ensure members had their say on pay. 49% of eligible members used their vote. Government has now been notified of GMBs position on pay and further details will emerge in the next few days as to the next stages in the campaign for pay justice.

 

GMB NHS Pay 15 – Learn to Win

The 49% turnout in the Scotland Pay Ballot highlights to us that there are still many GMB members that are choosing not to use their vote and have their say on pay. If we are serious about winning the campaign for pay justice in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, we must do all we can now to ensure all members are engaged with the campaign and understand the importance of using their vote.

Every conversation, in every workplace is crucial. Every pay campaign activity is crucial – whether that’s handing a campaign flyer to a colleague, recruiting a friend, placing information on the noticeboard, organising a workplace meeting or a protest. It all counts. Every member can do something to ensure that GMB are not only ballot ready, but that we are also action ready.

That’s why, our next Learn to Win Event is a must for All NHS Workers. And, we don’t just want you to attend, we want you to bring your work colleagues too – GMB members and non-union members. It is essential that we come together as one collective voice, with a shared plan of action, if we are going to win NHS workers the Pay Justice you deserve.

 

GMB NHS Pay 15 – Learn to Win, Part 2

Tuesday 25th May, 6pm

gmb.org.uk/learn2win2

So, register today – and now share the link with your colleagues and ask them to register too. Send it via text, what’s app, facebook, twitter, post it note!

 

GMB NHS Reps Taster Sessions

The second round of GMB Reps Taster Sessions for Activists in the NHS are well underway. The sessions are for people who are keen to be more active in the campaign, not just on pay, but for all future campaigns.

There are still two sessions left to go and it’s not too late to join if you’re interested. They run via Zoom between 7pm – 9pm on:

  • Wednesday 12th May 2021
  • Wednesday 19th May 2021

If you want to register your interest in attending the taster sessions please email your name, membership number (if you know it), workplace and job title to NHS@gmb.org.uk

 

Joint GMB & Unite Live Facebook Rally

The Rally was a huge success and has so far had almost 4,000 views online. We heard from inspiring GMB and Unite members and activists across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as Rehana Azam (GMB National Secretary), Rachel Harrison (GMB National Officer) and Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe (Unite National Officer).

If you haven’t seen it yet you can watch it back via the GMB Union NHS Workers Facebook Page.

 

National Day of Local Protests – Saturday 3rd July 2021

At GMB, we celebrate the NHS’s Birthday every year. This year we are proud to support the National Day of Local Protests being organised by Health Campaigns Together, Keep Our NHS Public, NHS Workers Say No and NHS Staff Voices. The theme this year is Pay Justice, Patient Safety and an End to Privatisation.

There are already events being organised from Cornwall to Glasgow and we want all of our members to get involved. We would love to see lots of GMB members and activists organising pay campaign activities at your workplaces and also supporting local protests and events.

More details will follow in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, get thinking about what you want to do on the day. Do you want to organise something at your workplace? Would you like to link up with local campaign groups? Send an email to NHS@gmb.org.uk and we will support you however you need us. This is your campaign!

You can also check out the dedicated Facebook Event Page for the latest information - NHS Anniversary Protests Nationwide

GMB will continue to fight for pay justice for our members, but we need your help to do so.

If you are not in the GMB, join.

Become an activist.

Spread the word that this time NHS workers are fighting back.

 

WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO TO HELP?                                      

Not a GMB member?

Join today and get involved!

A GMB member already?

Get involved!

  • Contact your local GMB Representative and ask for details on what you can do to spread the message of the GMB Pay Justice Campaign. Don’t know who your GMB Representative is? Email your details to NHS@gmb.org.uk
  • Visit our website campaign page for more information and links to actions you can take on the NHS Hub!
  • Download a poster to display in your house or car window
  • Download campaign resources and share them with your colleagues
  • Share a campaign graphic on your social media pages
  • Sign the petition for pay justice
  • Contact your MP and ask them to support the call for NHS Pay Justice
  • Order campaign merchandise and display it proudly
  • Share your story with us, so that we can share it for you
  • Speak to your colleagues about the campaign, ask them to join GMB and get involved themselves
  • Keep up to date with campaign messages by following us on Facebook – GMB Union NHS Workers and on Twitter @GMBNHS
  • Sign up with your colleagues to attend the GMB NHS Pay 15 – Learn to Win, Part 2 Event

Don’t a have a GMB Representative?

Become one!

Register your interest via the website campaign page.

Unsure about what the role of a GMB NHS Representative involves? Register your interest in our NHS Representative Taster Sessions – email your contact details to NHS@gmb.org.uk

A GMB Representative already?

  • Register for the GMB NHS Pay 15 – Learn to Win on 25th May 2021, 6pm
  • Speak to non-members and ask them to join using the Reps Resources on the Hub
  • Share campaign materials on member Whats App groups and social media pages  and display them in your workplace
  • Speak to your GMB Regional Organiser for support in raising awareness of the campaign in your workplace

Are your contact details correct?

It is essential that your membership details are up to date so that we can ensure you are kept up to date with developments in the pay campaign and receive a ballot paper when they are issued.

Make sure that you are opted into receiving communications from GMB.

You can update your details by contacting your local GMB Representative or online.

Date: 28/04/2021

COVID-19 VACCINATION – NATIONAL BOOKING SERVICE

The national booking self referral service for health and social care workers has now been reinstated, after temporarily being suspended earlier this month.

Eligible workers can book their Covid-19 Vaccination by calling 119 or online at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination

Eligibility checks and ID requirements remain in place and are detailed below.

When the individual arrives for their appointment

They should verbally declare to the person at the vaccination site that is booking them in that:

  • they are a health or social care worker
  • the type of role/work they do
  • the name of their employer

The person should also show further proof of employment as a health or social care worker such as one of the following:

  • A recent letter from their employer
  • A staff ID badge
  • A recent (last 3 months) payslip which shows their employer

The individual should be informed, by the person recoding their vaccination, that it will be recorded that they are a health or social care worker.

Who are eligible frontline social care or health care workers in England?

People that have direct contact with patients, clients or service users at higher risk from coronavirus (COVID-19).

Health workers:

  • you work in a clinical role (such as a doctor or nurse)
  • you have contact in a non-clinical role (such as a receptionist or porter)
  • you work in a hospital laboratory, mortuary or a funeral home

The following are, however, not eligible within this priority group as defined by the JCVI:

  • Administrative staff who do not have any direct contact with clients.
  • Social care workers working with children who are not considered priority

within the context of the JCVI priority cohorts 1-9 (children under 16 who do

  • not have underlying health conditions leading to greater risk of disease or
  • mortality and children who have no underlying health conditions).

 

KEEPING SAFE AT WORK

GMB’s priority remains in keeping our members safe at work which is why throughout the Pandemic we have been regularly updating our Coronavirus Hub with all the information you need to keep yourself safe.

Visit The Coronavirus Hub

You can also access NHS & Ambulance Service specific Frequently Asked Questions

If you have concerns that you may have contracted Covid-19 in the workplace, please record your details on the GMB COVID-19 Risk Register.

 

ARE YOUR CONTACT DETAILS CORRECT?

It is essential that your membership details are up to date so that we can ensure you are kept up to date with advice and guidance relevant to you.

You can update your details by contacting your local GMB Representative or online

 

UNION VISITS TO YOUR WORKPLACE

It will be many months before we see a return to any form of ‘normality’. Covid-19 will still present a danger to health care workers and the people you care for. As a result, it means that your GMB Union Representatives may continue to have difficulties visiting you in your workplaces.

However, we want you to know that we are still here. We are considering a variety of ways that we can get information to you and engage with you on your issues in the workplace. One way to do this is to arrange a virtual online meeting for your workplace.

If you would like to book one of these meetings please contact your local GMB representative or email NHS@gmb.org.uk

Not a GMB Member? Join the union for NHS staff today

 

 Would you like more information in becoming a GMB Representative in your Workplace? Click ‘Want to get more involved’ on the NHS dedicated campaign page We're campaigning for pay justice in our NHS

Follow and like our Facebook Page

Follow us on Twitter - @GMBNHS

 

Date: 23/04/21

COVID-19 VACCINATION - UPDATE

Vaccination Programme

The vaccination programme continues with reports that uptake amongst NHS staff is now above 90% across England. However, uptake is lower in some areas. London has been a particular problem area but staff uptake is now increasing slowly.

Mandatory Vaccination

GMB has concerns regarding the Government’s announcement of mandatory vaccination for adult social care home workers. The proposals to enshrine this in legislation also make reference to it being extended other professionals who enter adult care homes, such as NHS staff. GMB will be making a submission into this consultation on behalf of our members.

There have already been some reports of local NHS Trusts looking to also make covid vaccination mandatory for their health staff. Union concerns on this issue have been reported to NHSEI who have confirmed that this should not be happening and to report any cases where Trusts are looking to do this. The Department of Health and Social Care have confirmed they are still keen to encourage rather than mandating healthcare staff.

Vaccination Guidance

There have recently been some changes made to guidance regarding vaccinations which may affect GMB members working in social care. These are:

  • Pregnant women are now being included in the vaccination programme with the preferred vaccines of Pfizer or Moderna. Pregnant women are still advised to discuss potential risks and benefits with their clinician.
  • Women who are trying to get pregnant or breastfeeding can also be vaccinated, with any vaccine.
  • The letter issued to the NHS system with regards the two above points can be accessed and read at: Letter template (england.nhs.uk)
  • People under the age of 30 will now receive an alternative vaccination to the Oxford Astra Zeneca if they have not had any vaccine yet. However, if you have had the first dose of this vaccine without issue, you will still be given that for your second dose as it is considered safe.
  • Once Booster arrangements are in place, adult social care workers will be eligible for them.

 

LATERAL FLOW TESTING

Lateral flow testing is now very widespread across health and social care, as well as across communities and other workplaces.

NHS staff are being reminded to report their negative test results as all data is used to monitor covid across the whole of the population.

 

STAFF CAR PARKING – NHS TRUSTS

At the start of the Pandemic instructions were given to NHS Trusts to ensure they provided free care parking for staff for the duration of the Pandemic. This was also confirmed in the NHS People Plan.

A reminder of this commitment had been issued to Trusts with instructions that they should continue to provide it. You can read the letter at:  C1164-Patient-car-parking-23-March-2021.pdf (england.nhs.uk)

 

COVID-19 TERMS & CONDITIONS

Special Covid-19 terms and conditions still remain in place, including the provision of full sick pay for Covid-19 related absences.

You can access all of the Covid-19 terms and conditions advice and guidance at: Staff terms and conditions - NHS Employers  

 

TRANSMISSION & VENTILATION

The Health & Safety Executive have issued guidance and ventilations and air conditioning during the Coronavirus Pandemic. It outlines the duty placed on employers as well as giving advice on how to improve ventilation.

You can read the guidance at: Ventilation and air conditioning during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (hse.gov.uk)

 

Date: 16/04/2021

COVID-19 VACCINATION

This week, Government launched their consultation on the mandatory vaccination of adult social care home workers.

It is proposed that legislation is amended to make it compulsory for all workers in adult social care homes caring for at least one person over the age of 65 to be vaccinated against Covid-19. GMB is clear that we support and encourage our members to be vaccinated but there may be reasons why an individual chooses not to be. We will be responding to the consultation in the coming weeks.

A part of the consultation refers to whether this policy will also be extended to other professionals who enter the care home – including NHS and Local Government workers. Although Government are not yet proposing mandatory vaccination for all NHS and Local Government workers, it may be that if this proposal goes ahead in Social Care, it will also follow into other sectors afterwards.

GMB will continue to represent the views of our members and will keep you updated as this develops.

Read GMB's vaccination statement

GMB's respnse to care worker mandatory vaccinations.

 

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)

GMB continues to campaign for greater levels of protection for health and social care workers, specifically in terms of calling for access to higher levels of PPE. We also continue to raise concerns regarding airborne transmission and ventilation, specifically for those working in ambulances.

GMB continue to work with the AGP Alliance which is made up of some other health unions and organisations raising concerns over PPE, airborne transmission and ventilation. A letter was sent to the Chief Medical Officer regarding our concerns and a meeting is scheduled for 22nd April 2021 as a result with representatives from the AGP Alliance, Department of Health & Social Care, NHS and Public Health England.

 

MedSupplyDrive UK - Reusable Respirator Mask Survey

MedSupplyDrive UK is a UK-based charity formed to protect frontline healthcare workers during this coronavirus pandemic and is supporting the work of the AGP Alliance. It is running a survey on respirator masks


New articles of interest

 

VISAS

Free one year visa extensions have now been granted to eligible overseas health and care workers whose visas were due to expire before 1st October 2021.

The extension covers all healthcare professionals working in the NHS and the independent health and care sector. Visas will be extended for a year, free of all fees and charges, including the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Eligible individuals will need to complete an online form to verify their identity and then employers will be asked to confirm their eligibility.

Visit .gov website to apply for the Health and Care Worker Visa

 

KEEPING SAFE AT WORK

GMB’s priority remains in keeping our members safe at work which is why throughout the Pandemic we have been regularly updating our Coronavirus Hub with all the information you need to keep yourself safe.

Visit The Coronavirus Hub

You can also access NHS & Ambulance Service specific Frequently Asked Questions

If you have concerns that you may have contracted Covid-19 in the workplace, please record your details on the GMB COVID-19 Risk Register.

 

ARE YOUR CONTACT DETAILS CORRECT?

It is essential that your membership details are up to date so that we can ensure you are kept up to date with advice and guidance relevant to you.

You can update your details by contacting your local GMB Representative or online

 

UNION VISITS TO YOUR WORKPLACE

It will be many months before we see a return to any form of ‘normality’. Covid-19 will still present a danger to health care workers and the people you care for. As a result, it means that your GMB Union Representatives may continue to have difficulties visiting you in your workplaces.

However, we want you to know that we are still here. We are considering a variety of ways that we can get information to you and engage with you on your issues in the workplace. One way to do this is to arrange a virtual online meeting for your workplace.

If you would like to book one of these meetings please contact your local GMB representative or email NHS@gmb.org.uk

Not a GMB Member? Join the union for NHS staff today

 Would you like more information in becoming a GMB Representative in your Workplace? Click ‘Want to get more involved’ on the NHS dedicated campaign page We're campaigning for pay justice in our NHS

Follow and like our Facebook Page

Follow us on Twitter - @GMBNHS

 

Date: 13/04/2021

Scotland NHS

As a result of pay negotiations between trade unions and Scottish Government, an offer on pay for NHS workers in Scotland has now been made. The offer if accepted will be backdated to the 1st December 2020 and includes the 1% already paid to workers. The offer is:

Bands 1-3       £1,009

Bands 4-7      4%

Bands 8a-8c   2%

Bands 8d+      £800

The GMB Scotland pay ballot opened on 12th April and closes on 5th May. GMB Scotland’s NHS/Ambulance Committee are recommending REJECTION. This is due to the offer falling way short of giving our members pay justice and the restorative increase of 15% which we have been calling for.

All unions in Scotland are balloting their members in line with their own organisational processes and no union will declare their results until all the unions ballots have closed. A meeting has been scheduled for 12th May 2021 for Scottish Unions to meet and discuss the outcomes of their ballots.

Whilst we await the result, if you use social media, please visit the pages on Facebook and Twitter and offer your support to our colleagues in Scotland. What happens in Scotland will have an impact on what happens in England, Wales and Northern Ireland also.

 

GMB NHS Pay 15 – Learn to Win

The GMB NHS Activists Learn to Win event on 30th March 2021 was a great success. Activists from all GMB regions and devolved countries attended the meeting to hear about how this campaign is going to be won in the workplace, YOUR Workplace! Information was given on the Pay Review Body Process and Industrial Action, as well as campaigning messages as to why this time we can win. Lots of new resources from the event have now been published and should assist you in the campaign conversations you are having with your colleagues at work.

gmb.org.uk/nhs/rep-resources

A follow up event has now been arranged and we don’t just want you to attend, we want you to bring your work colleagues too – GMB members and non-union members. It is essential that we come together as one collective voice, with a shared plan of action, if we are going to win NHS workers the Pay Justice you deserve.

GMB NHS Pay 15 – Learn to Win, Part 2

Tuesday 25th May, 6pm

REGISTER NOW!

So, register today – and now share the link with your colleagues and ask them to come along.

Share it via twitter, facebook and whatsapp, or a post it note with gmb.org.uk/learn2win2 written on it!

 

Share Your Story

There are several weeks between now and when the Government makes their offer on pay (possibly July) and it’s crucial that not a second is wasted. Every conversation matters and it’s in your workplaces where those conversations need to be happening. The GMB NHS Pay Campaign Hub should have all the resources you need, including a list of 15 things you can do to fight for 15%.

One thing that you can do, and you can encourage your colleagues to do, is share your stories. We need to hear from you – about why you deserve pay justice and why it’s crucial that pay justice is awarded this year. We need to let everyone know your stories. Do this online via the Hub.

 

GMB NHS Reps Taster Sessions

The second round of GMB Reps Taster Sessions for Activists in the NHS have now been arranged. If you are keen to be more active in the campaign, not just on pay, but for all future campaigns then this is the training for you. This is your opportunity to attend with other like minded NHS workers and get a taste for what the role of a GMB Representative is and how you can help organise to win in the fight for 15%.

The taster sessions run for four consecutive weeks and you are encouraged to attend all (or as many as you can). They run via Zoom between 7pm – 9pm on:

Wednesday 28th April 2021

Wednesday 5th May 2021

Wednesday 12th May 2021

Wednesday 19th May 2021

If you want to register your interest in attending the taster sessions please email your name, membership number (if you know it), workplace and job title to NHS@gmb.org.uk

 

Save the Date: Joint GMB & Unite Live Facebook Rally

Tuesday 11th May 2021, 6/7pm. Details to follow shortly.

 

WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO TO HELP?                           

  • Contact your local GMB Representative and ask for details on what you can do to spread the message of the GMB Pay Justice Campaign. Don’t know who your GMB Representative is? Email your details to NHS@gmb.org.uk
  • Visit our GMB NHS Hub for more information and links to actions you can take!
  • Download a poster to display in your house or car window
  • Download campaign resources and share them with your colleagues
  • Share a campaign graphic on your social media pages
  • Sign the petition for pay justice
  • Contact your MP and ask them to support the call for NHS Pay Justice
  • Order campaign merchandise and display it proudly
  • Share your story with us, so that we can share it for you
  • Speak to your colleagues about the campaign, ask them to join GMB and get involved themselves
  • Keep up to date with campaign messages by following us on Facebook – GMB Union NHS Workers and on Twitter @GMBNHS
  • Sign up with your colleagues to attend the GMB NHS Pay 15 – Learn to Win, Part 2 Event: gmb.org.uk/learn2win2

 

Date: 08/04/2021

COVID-19 VACCINATION

We have received confirmation that despite expected shortages in supply of the Covid-19 vaccines over the next month, all health and social care staff will be prioritised for their second doses.

C1245-FAQ on Second Doses 

Following on from this week’s announcement from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) regarding the use of the Astra Zeneca vaccine, guidance has now been issued to NHS trusts and primary care.

The advice states guidance in three circumstances:

  1. People who have had their first dose of the Astra Zeneca vaccine should continue to be offered their second dose of the Astra Zeneca, irrespective of age. Unless:

‘Administration of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca in patients with a history of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, acquired or hereditary thrombophilia, heparin-induced thrombocytopenia or antiphospholipid syndrome should only be considered when the potential benefit outweighs any potential risks. Patients who have experienced major venous and arterial thrombosis occurring with thrombocytopenia following vaccination with any COVID-19 vaccine should not receive a second dose of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca.’

  1. People over 30 years of age who are waiting for their first vaccine should be offered the Astra Zeneca.
  2. People under 30 years of age who are waiting for their first vaccine should be offered an alternative vaccine if one is available.

Read the Full Letter

 

SHIELDING

The government has now confirmed that, from 1 April 2021, shielding advice will be paused nationally. This reflects falling infection rates and advice from the Chief Medical Officer. The Shielded Patient List will continue to be kept current in case of a future need.

In summary, the new advice from the 1 April is to continue to work from home where possible and if individuals cannot work from home, employers should undertake a comprehensive, individual, workplace risk assessment reflecting the current working context (ie improved testing, vaccination and relationship with transmission). These risk assessments are essential to determine the appropriate work arrangements from the 1 April.

All staff should continue to follow national guidance on infection prevention and control and on the use of personal protective equipment.

C1213-Information-on Supporting Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Staff

 

NATIONAL INCIDENT LEVEL

The NHS Covid-19 response has been reduced from level 4 to level 3.

You can readd the letter from Professor Keith Willett, NHS Strategic Incident Director, and Stephen Groves, Incident Director regarding reducing the national incident level, regarding this.

C1224 Transition to NHS Level 3 Incident

GMB EVIDENCE - NHS PAY REVIEW BODY (PRB)

Date: 23/03/2021

Today, on the anniversary of the first day, of the first national lockdown due to Covid-19, Rachel Harrison (GMB National Officer) and Rehana Azam (GMB National Secretary) gave oral evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB) on behalf of all GMB members working in the NHS and Ambulance Services.

This was GMBs opportunity to talk in more detail about our written submission to the PRB and also raise other key issues on behalf of our members. Issues such as Covid-19, low staff morale, mental health, disproportionate impacts on Black Asian and Minority Ethnic workers, impacts of the last pay deal for all members, and specifically for those working in the ambulance service.

You can read a summary of GMB’s oral evidence session to the PRB in the box below.

Opening Remarks.

Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer:

GMB was the only union who said NO to the last three year pay deal and we believe we have been proven right to do so on several occasions since.

GMB members rejected the pay deal because it was overly complex and difficult for individuals to understand exactly what it meant for them. This has resulted in us still taking queries on pay issues related to the deal now, almost three years later.

It was to be a real terms pay cut for dedicated NHS staff, over half of who were at the top of their pay band. A 6.5% uplift over the three year term was forecast to be a real terms pay cut.

We believed it to be unreasonable for NHS staff to be expected to pay for their own pay rise by taking cuts to unsocial hours and sick pay.

Cuts to enhanced unsocial hours payments for new ambulance staff and those changing roles would cause a divide in the workforce and discourage people from applying for promotions.

GMB has always argued that incremental pay increases should be kept separate from annual pay increases. The right pay rate for the job is the one at the top of the band and automatic pay progression is a way for people to get smoothly to the correct rate for the job. Introducing a pay progression system that is linked to appraisals, leaves many workers vulnerable and at risk of being held back by managers for unreasonable reasons. A fear felt most by our lower paid workers and those of black Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Staff morale and motivation is at an all time low with staff at absolute breaking point.

As an NHS Staff Council Executive member I have spent the last twelve months meeting with NHS employers, and representatives from the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England & Improvement to ensure our members are protected at work. In order to fully understand the issues on the ground, I am in daily contact with reps and members from all job across the NHS and ambulance services. And I can tell you, they have had enough.

Not only is staff morale at an all time low, there is a mental health crisis looming.

GMB has just closed a mental health survey of our members, which also included questions on long covid.

Out of 3,110 responses with approximately a 60/40 split between the NHS and Ambulance Service, almost 70% of members stated that their work was causing them stress or impacting on their mental health.

Amongst the top reasons for this stress and mental health impacts was fear of taking Covid home, fear for their own safety, trying to balance work and caring responsibilities and financial pressures. 52% stated that their employer didn’t provide adequate support for workers who returned to work after a mental health issue. 76% stated that their employer has not appropriately or adequately supported or managed changes in their working environment or job role during covid.

Long covid is also a very real issue for many NHS staff. Its reasonable to expect that in the early days of the pandemic, when staff were fighting to get access to PPE, those that caught covid, did so at work. Some of these people are still having to take time off work now with long covid symptoms and are not being sufficiently supported by their employer.

Over 41% of those who completed our survey stated that they had contracted covid and they believed that they were now suffering with long covid. Over 33% of these had resulted in having to take further time off work, some on lower pay than they would receive if they were able to be in work and some unpaid. It’s a disgrace that these key workers are not being shown the care and respect that they deserve.

There are workers being forced into situations of overtime at lower rates of pay or unpaid.

Car parking charges have been re-introduced in some areas, despite the NHS people plan stating it should remain free for staff for the duration of the pandemic.

Some of our members are still having to fight to get adequate Personal Protective Equipment to protect themselves.

The lowest paid in the NHS are now on less than the Foundation Living Wage.

NHS staff are seeing their colleagues ill, at breaking point, suffering emotionally, physically, and financially and they are angry. They are rightly calling for the recognition they deserve. They want pay justice and that is a restorative pay increase of 15% or £2 per hour, whichever is the greatest.

Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary:

We are concerned about a statement made in the NHS England PRB submission:

‘A significant number of Agenda for Change staff earn below £24,000, and for them the Spending Review committed to provide a £250 pay rise.’

This statement is inaccurate as only staff who earn below £24,000 Full Time Equivalent are covered by the policy. It excludes part-time NHS staff who are below the threshold.

If staff who earn below the threshold on a part-time basis are excluded, then it will create perverse outcomes and a sense of unfairness, and also 1.1% to 1.4% would not be an adequate settlement for staff who do earn below that amount FTE.

We are also concerned that the evidence submitted by the Department of Health and Social Care does not rule out a pay freeze for some workers. While vacancies are particularly acute in some occupations, this is a relative measure – recruitment and retention problems are pronounced across the NHS.

The Treasury’s own Equality Impact Assessment from November, which GMB got under the Freedom of Information Act, said that:

‘In order to ensure the NHS is robustly resourced and equipped, it is not appropriate to impose a pay freeze on NHS workers at this point in time.’

We agree with the Treasury on that point – and we think that any attempt to freeze NHS workers’ pay or otherwise cut it in real terms would be misguided.

Another regrettable issue is the Department’s failure to seize the nettle on High Cost Area Supplements (HCAS). We were grateful for the PRB’s supportive comments in its last report and it is disappointing that the Department did not provide a remit for a review. The problems with HCAS are structural and long-term, and if the PRB would consider reiterating that there is a strong case for a review in this year’s report then that would be appreciated.

I don’t need to tell you that there were over 100,000 vacancies in our NHS before the pandemic.

Although, NHS and ambulance service workers have been recognised as the key workers we always knew they were, years of underfunding and undervaluing these workers before the pandemic had led to chronic staffing shortages and a workforce and system already at breaking point. Government was wholly unprepared to protect our NHS and its workers.

People from Black Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds have been impacted the most during this pandemic. GMB has just submitted evidence into the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which is specific to racism and racial inequality across the NHS and social care. We can provide you with a copy.

PPE has been one of the most shocking failures of this government's handling of the pandemic and continues to be. Out of date PPE was sent to workers on the frontline – masks out of date by years, goggles that were that old the elastic band straps disintegrated when workers tried to put them on. PPE of inferior quality and insufficient to protect workers – paramedics attending to covid patients with flimsy aprons you find people wearing who work in your local sandwich shop.

PPE guidance changed at least 40 times in the first six months of the pandemic, leaving employers and workers completely confused and scared. This led into a huge distrust amongst workers and a belief they were being lied to about how safe they were. Guidance was changed to meet supply with advice issued over one weekend when supplies ran out, advising workers to wash and reuse items that should be disposed.

It is only now being reported of the money wasted on PPE – warehouses full of supplies that were bought without proper checks and of inferior quality and therefore can’t be used. Contracts given to Ministers friends without checks and transparency.

GMB is campaigning for Covid to be classified as an industrial disease. Needless lives have been lost and government has to take responsibility.

GMB is calling for a fully independent public inquiry into covid and the governments handling of it. The government have lost their way. We need a coherent strategy with all key stakeholders at the table.

All devolved countries have recognised the efforts of their health and social care workers with financial bonus payments. Wales went one step further and topped up the payment to account for tax and national insurance deductions. These are payments in addition to any pay award yet to be offered. England is the anomaly.

GMB is clear that the pay award must be one that is consolidated and fully funded. One off lump sum payments are not the answer. However, the fact that the Government in England has failed completely in providing a bonus of this type for recognition of Covid efforts, speaks volumes.

They have failed to do anything other than clap. Instead, they have recommended 1% which is a complete insult.

This is why GMB is calling for a restorative pay award of 15%, or £2 per hour, whichever is the greatest.

Our members know their value, even if government don’t and they are prepared to fight for it if they have to. If we need to go down the route of industrial action in the coming months if there isn’t a satisfactory offer, we will do.

Everyone is watching and waiting to see what the PRB will do. GMB is calling on you to do the right thing and recommend a real terms pay increase.”

Read GMBs written submission into the PRB at: Evidence submissions | GMB

The PRB panel focussed their questions on four key areas. Details of these are listed below with brief comments highlighting GMBs response.

1.  Affordability of the pay award, & simplicity of the offer

  • Affordability of the pay award is one of choice for the Government. They have wasted £36 Billion on Test and Trace alone. The question is whether Government can afford not to give a decent pay award.
  • We are asking for a restorative pay award, to make up for a decade of real terms pay cuts.
  • GMB represents workers in all job roles, across all pay bands. The 15%, £2 per hour hybrid claim, is the fairest way to give pay justice by addressing real terms pay losses, as well as increasing pay for the lowest earners. The lowest paid are now earning below the Foundation Living Wage.
  • Can we afford not to give pay justice if we want to retain staff.

2.  Impact of the three year deal – specifically on ambulance workers

  • Ambulance workers were further disadvantaged by the last deal due to changes to unsocial hours payments under section 2. This is created a divide in the workforce who are now on different terms and has negatively impacted numbers of people pursuing promotions. Career development amongst the ambulance workforce is crucial to the future of the service.
  • This has caused anger and further distrust by ambulance workers, who previoulsy fought to protect their unsocial hours enhancements and won. To have had them removed a few years later anyway sends the message that they are not a valued part of the workforce.
  • We dispute the Department’s evidence that states unsocial hours payment have remained constant at around 15% of salary for qualified staff. We believe this figure to be much higher.
  • There are also many outstanding issues regarding the application of Section 2 which remain unresolved. GMB will outline these in supplementary evidence to be sent to the PRB.

3.  Equalities

  • GMB has done extensive work on the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on workers from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background. We have submitted evidence into the European Court of Human Rights on the impact on the health and social care workforce and will submit a copy of this to the PRB as part of our supplementary evidence.
  • NHS staff have suffered from instituional racism.
  • Insufficient protective measures were put in place for these workers.
  • Workers outsourced to private contractors were denied sick pay and PPE. Workers who are predominantly from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background.
  • There continues to be disproportionate representation amongst senior people.
  • GMB is calling for Covid-19 to be an industrial disease.
  • We have also done some research into representation of women in the ambulance service and the gender pay back. Details of this will be provided to the PRB in our supplementary evidence.
  • We need Race Pay Gap monitoring to be mandatory.

4.  Retention

In response to the question: ‘What is the risk of rentention for AfC staff this year compared to last year? Low, Medium or High?’ – GMB response: very high.

Staff are sticking out the next few months due to feelings of supporting patients and their colleagues through the pandemic, but will leave afterwards if not rewarded with pay justice.

Staff burnout and exhaustion is a real issue that needs addressing.

Flexible working options are not yet a reality for the majority of NHS workers.

The effects of pension contribution increases could mean that many NHS staff are set to actually receive another pay cut. The pension remedy arrangements as a result of the McCloud judgment, may result in more people retiring early – this is of particular concerns in the ambulance service due to the long standing grievance of their retirment age not being equal to that of other emergency services.

What’s Next?

GMB will now provide further written evidence into the PRB on areas that were discussed today. These include:

  • European Court of Human Rights Evidence: Impact of Covid-19 on the Health & Social Care Workforce.
  • On-going Section 2 issues for ambulance service workers.
  • Gender pay gap reporting in the ambulance services.

It is expected that the PRB will review all evidence received and issue their report to Government, who will then respond with their pay offer.

This is when GMB members will be consulted on that offer. Therefore, it is essential that all GMB members details are up to date and permissions given to allow us to communicate with them by email, mobile phone and post.

Members can check their details and make any amendments by contacting local branch’s, representatives or GMB offices, or online at: https://gmb.org.uk/mygmb-edit

All resources for our pay campaign can be found on the GMB NHS Hub, including links for non members to join - We're campaigning for pay justice in our NHS | GMB

 


Date: 11/03/2021

COVID-19 VACCINATION

The deadline for frontline health and social care workers to book directly to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at a Vaccination Centre or pharmacy-led site has been extended until further notice.

Self-referral extension for eligible staff

Millions of people have had the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccine, including the majority of frontline health and social care workers.

To ensure no frontline workers who want one are left behind, the NHS has opened the National Booking Service to allow eligible staff to book directly at a Vaccination Centre or pharmacy-led site.

Using the National Booking Service is quick and simple. You can do it online at nhs.uk/CovidVaccination, or by calling 119 if you can’t use the internet.

This service is open to any eligible health and social care worker – whether you work directly for the NHS or a contractor, an independent provider or are in private practice.

You will be asked to self-certify that you are eligible when booking, and provide proof of your eligibility when you attend your appointment.

The ability to book directly is only expected to remain open for a limited period of time, so if you haven’t had your first dose yet, make your appointment as soon as possible.

It’s important to remember, in the meantime and even if you have had the vaccine, we all still need to follow all the guidelines to control the virus and save lives. That means following the IPC and testing measures in your workplace, and the general advice at work, at home and when you are out and about.

 

VENTILATION

New guidance has been published regarding ventilation to stop the spread of Covid-19. This includes guidance for workplace settings and vehicles. You can access it at:

Ventilation of indoor spaces to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) - GOV.UK

 

MENTAL HEALTH & LONG COVID - SURVEY

GMB has also launched a new mental health survey for our members working in the NHS and ambulance services. This is a follow up to the one we did in October and includes additional questions on your experiences of Long Covid. The evidence will be used in GMBs evidence session to the PRB so please do take a couple of minutes to complete it. Then share the survey with your colleagues and ask them to complete it too.

You can complete the survey online at: gmb.org.uk/nhsC19health

Closing date is Wednesday 17th March 2021.

 

KEEPING SAFE AT WORK

GMB’s priority remains in keeping our members safe at work which is why throughout the Pandemic we have been regularly updating our Coronavirus Hub with all the information you need to keep yourself safe. You can check it out at: Get It Right | The Coronavirus Hub

You can also access NHS & Ambulance Service specific advice at: NHS and COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions

If you have concerns that you may have contracted Covid-19 in the workplace, please record your details on the GMB Risk Register at: COVID-19 Risk Register

 

ARE YOUR CONTACT DETAILS CORRECT?

It is essential that your membership details are up to date so that we can ensure you are kept up to date with advice and guidance relevant to you.

You can update your details by contacting your local GMB Representative or online using the GMB website at gmb.org.uk/mygmb-edit

 

UNION VISITS TO YOUR WORKPLACE

It will be many months before we see a return to any form of ‘normality’. Covid-19 will still present a danger to health care workers and the people you care for. As a result, it means that your GMB Union Representatives may continue to have difficulties visiting you in your workplaces.

However, we want you to know that we are still here. We are considering a variety of ways that we can get information to you and engage with you on your issues in the workplace. One way to do this is to arrange a virtual online meeting for your workplace.

If you would like to book one of these meetings please contact your local GMB representative or email NHS@gmb.org.uk

 

Date: 05/03/2021

GOVERNMENT 1%, GMB 15% - YOU DECIDE!

Government finally submitted their evidence into the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB) yesterday Thursday 4th March 2021, 6 weeks late. If the fact that they couldn’t get their submission in on time didn’t prove their complete lack of respect and disregard for NHS workers, then their recommendation on this years pay certainly does.

Compare their recommendation on pay in their PRB submission, to GMBs recommendation on pay in our submission:

Government

GMB

 

 

  • 1% pay increase or reprioritisation of services e.g. cuts

 

 

 

  • 15%, or £2 per hour increase (whichever is the greatest)
  • Unsocial Hours’ Payments to be paid to all staff when on sick leave
  • Commitment that NHS Pay will never fall below a Real Living Wage again

 

 

 

In response to the anger that NHS workers and unions have expressed, Government have responded to say: ‘it’s better than nothing’; ‘it’s all we can afford’. We know that they aren’t telling the truth.

  • Our analysis shows that a proper pay rise is more than affordable.
  • A report by the London Economics showed that boosting NHS pay by 10% would cost just £0.66 Billion – that’s 3% of the cost of Test & Trace
  • The economic return to the Treasury offsets most of the cost, making an NHS pay rise great value for money.
  • A proper pay rise will help to recruit, retain and motivate permanent staff, and reduce the bill for agency work saving over £0.13 Billion.
  • Holding down NHS pay means spending more on benefits to top up incomes.
  • We cannot save our way out of a recession. A decent pay rise for NHS workers will put money into the pockets of families right across the UK, boosting struggling businesses and the economy.

GMB is calling on the PRB to do the right thing and show the Government’s submission the same disregard that they have shown NHS workers - and ignore it!

GMB will continue to fight for pay justice for our members, but we need your help to do so. If you are not in the GMB, join. Become an activist. Spread the word that this time NHS workers are fighting back.

GMB is holding a meeting for all GMB NHS Activists across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you are a GMB member and want to play a crucial role in this pay justice campaign register for your place today.

 

 

GMB NHS Pay 15 – Learn to Win

 

Tuesday 30th March 2021, 6pm – 8pm

 

gmb.org.uk/nhsrep15meet

 

 

 

Key Dates:

  • 16th March: Joint Unions Oral Evidence session with the PRB
  • 23rd March: GMB Oral Evidence session with the PRB.
  • May: PRB report and recommendations to Government.
  • May / June: Government response.
  • May / June: GMB Ballot of all members.

 

Mental Health

GMB has also launched a new mental health survey for our members working in the NHS and ambulance services. This is a follow up to the one we did in October and includes additional questions on your experiences of Long Covid. The evidence will be used in GMBs evidence session to the PRB so please do take a couple of minutes to complete it. Then share the survey with your colleagues and ask them to complete it too.

You can complete the survey online at: gmb.org.uk/nhsC19health

Closing date is Wednesday 17th March 2021.

If you want to read the full submissions into the PRB you can do so at:

GMB (please share): Evidence Submissions.

Government: DHSC evidence for the NHSPRB: pay round 2021 to 2022.

 

WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO TO HELP?

Not a GMB member? 

Join today and get involved!

A GMB member already?

Get involved!

  • Contact your local GMB Representative and ask for details on what you can do to spread the message of the GMB Pay Justice Campaign. Don’t know who your GMB Representative is? Email your details to NHS@gmb.org.uk
  • Visit our campaign page for more information and links to actions you can take.
  • Download a poster to display in your house or car window
  • Share a campaign graphic on your social media pages
  • Sign the petition for pay justice
  • Contact your MP and ask them to support the call for NHS Pay Justice
  • Order campaign merchandise and display it proudly
  • Speak to your colleagues about the campaign, ask them to join GMB and get involved themselves
  • Keep up to date with campaign messages by following us on Facebook – GMB Union NHS Workers and on Twitter @GMBNHS

Don’t a have a GMB Representative?

Become one!

Register your interest via the website campaigning page!

Unsure about what the role of a GMB NHS Representative involves? Register your interest in our NHS Representative Taster Sessions – email your contact details to NHS@gmb.org.uk

A GMB Representative already?

  • Register for the GMB NHS Pay 15 – Learn to Win Event: gmb.org.uk/nhsrep15meet
  • Speak to non-members and ask them to join
  • Share campaign materials and display them in your workplace and share them on member Whats App groups and social media pages
  • Speak to your GMB Regional Organiser for support in raising awareness of the campaign in your workplace
  • Register your interest in attending our upcoming NHS Activist Pay Campaign Big Meet-Up by speaking with your GMB Regional Organiser or emailing NHS@gmb.org.uk

Are your contact details correct?

It is essential that your membership details are up to date so that we can ensure you are kept up to date with developments in the pay campaign and receive a ballot paper when they are issued.

Make sure that you are opted into receiving communications from GMB.

You can update your details by contacting your local GMB Representative or online using the GMB website at gmb.org.uk/mygmb-edit


Date: 03/02/2021

COVID-19 VACCINATION

Vaccination guidance has been amended to confirm that temporary workers should be prioritised for vaccination.

You can read the details at: england.nhs.uk

Vaccinations for health and social care workers with no NHS number

NHSEI have issued further advice for workers who may not have an NHS number:

“Vaccinating our frontline teams against COVID-19 is an absolute and immediate priority, as part of our shared commitment to offer the first vital dose to 100% of those within the first four JCVI priority groups by the middle of February.

NHS staff do not require a NHS number or GP registration to receive a vaccination and should never be denied one on this basis, either in person when presenting for a vaccine, or through design of booking systems. Please take immediate action to ensure this is not the case in your organisation.

If a member of staff does not have an NHS number, then employers should vaccinate now, record locally via a paper system and ensure that that the vaccination event is more formally documented later. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working to agree a longer-term solution, but employers should not wait for this before vaccinating.

Locum, agency and bank staff in qualifying roles must be given equitable access, and the contracting organisation has a duty of care to ensure these staff are offered a vaccination alongside substantive staff.”

GMB advice regarding vaccination can be read here

 

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)

GMB has been calling on the Department of Health & Social Care to work with us to review and amend current PPE guidance and provide the highest level PPE for all health and social care staff working with or near suspected or confirmed Covid-19 positive patients or residents. We have now received a response to our two most recent letters which states that guidance will not be amended.

Despite this response, local employers can choose to afford higher protection than what is stated in the PPE Guidance – some Trusts have already started doing this. GMBs position remains the same that we believe the highest level of PPE should be made available to these workers and encourage all local employers to make level 3 PPE available.

The full response from the DHSC can be read here

 

Public Health England (PHE) Response to the Social Partnership Forum (SPF):

The SPF has also asked PHE to review PPE guidance in light of the new Covid-19 variations. A response has now been received which states again that they will not be changing the guidance.

You can read a copy of the response here

 

Date: 27/01/2021

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)

GMB continues to call for the highest level of PPE for all health and social care staff working with / near Covid-19 patients. We have repeatedly raised this for several months with the Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) and Public Health England (PHE). The most recent response we have received from PHE again fails to amend their guidance and increase the levels of protections available to workers.

Read the response.

GMB and other health unions via the Social Partnership Forum (SPF) have also written to PHE asking them to review the current guidance in light of the new variant of Covid-19.

Read the SPF letter.

GMB is also a member of the Aerosol Generating Procedures Alliance who have been campaigning for several months for a review of AGPs and PPE. We have now jointly written to all MPs asking for them to support our call for increasing the levels of PPE.

We need you to get involved in this campaign and are asking that you contact your MP and ask them to also support this campaign.

Contact your MP online!

 Please share your letter and / or any responses on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #FFP3PPE and tagging in @GMBNHS

 

COVID-19 VACCINATION

Do you not have an NHS Number?

GMB has received reports that some health and social care staff have been unable to access the Covid-19 vaccination due to them not having an NHS number. This issue has been raised with NHS England & NHS Improvement who have confirmed that all patient facing health care workers should be able to access the vaccine.

The consent form for the vaccine can be completed without an NHS Number.

Report template - NHSI website (england.nhs.uk)

A worker from overseas working within health care can also automatically register for a GP and be allocated an NHS number.

If you do not have an NHS number and have been denied access to a vaccine please raise this immediately with your local GMB Representative.

 

Travel to vaccination?

GMB and other health unions have raised concerns that some groups of workers have been expected to travel to vaccination appointments in their own time and during rest periods, whereas other staff are able to attend during works time and paid. It has been confirmed that this is down to local arrangements.

GMB would expect that as much flexibility as possible is applied locally to allow for staff to be vaccinated at a venue and time most convenient for them and that wherever possible this should be in works time and paid.

 

Sickness after vaccination?

As with all vaccines, there may be a small number of people who suffer minor side effects after vaccination. GMB and other health unions have queried what sick pay arrangements are in place for staff who have to take time off work as a result.

It is disappointing that this will not be covered by Covid-19 Sick Pay arrangements and will instead be covered under usual sickness arrangements.

GMB would expect that no period of illness linked to the vaccine should count towards any sickness triggers and expect local management to consider and discard these periods of absence for the purposes of formal procedures. If you have suffered as a result of this please speak to your local GMB Representative immediately.

Can Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) staff who are Shielding return to work after having the vaccine?

No. A precautionary approach is essential. Therefore, national guidance for people who are CEV and Shielding should continue to be followed, regardless of how many doses of vaccine an individual has had. This will remain under review as government and PHE guidance changes.

 

TESTING

Regular testing of staff is fundamental in controlling Covid-19 within healthcare settings and ensure the health and safety of staff.

Unions have been asked to remind staff to continue reporting all of their test results each week – both negative and positive test results. This is to ensure accuracy in understanding the transmission of the virus amongst staff.

 

STUDENTS

The NMC has re-introduced a set of emergency standards that enables final year nursing students (not including those in their final year of a two year post graduate diploma programme) to undertake up to 100% of their time in clinical practice.

These arrangements are for final year undergraduate nursing students only and do not apply to those on the shortened postgraduate entry programme or to midwifery students.

You can read more details at england.nhs.uk

 

CHILDCARE & SCHOOLS

4.8% of schools have reported not being able to satisfy demand for key worker places and we know that this has been an issue for some of our members working in the NHS.

If you are having an issue with childcare as result of school closure you should discuss the problems with your line manager and work together to find a suitable resolution. If a suitable solution has not been able to be agreed there is a national escalation route which can be accessed by your employer. This allows for your employer to raise your issue direct with NHSEI who can escalate to the Department for Education (DfE).

The Covid-19 Childcare Workstream within NHSEI has launched a survey in partnership with the DfE to understand the impacts of the latest national lockdown on the workforce. GMB members affected by this issue are encouraged to take a few minutes to complete the survey. Data collected within the survey will be used to help scope future DfE policy decisions.

The survey is open until 10th February and can be accessed online:

Complete in the Childare Survey January 2021

You can also access NHS & Ambulance Service specific advice at: NHS and COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions

If you have concerns that you may have contracted Covid-19 in the workplace, please record your details on the GMB COVID-19 Risk Register.

 

Date: 20/01/2021

COVID-19 VACCINATION

Unions requested a briefing on the Covid-19 Vaccination via the Social Partnership Forum (SPF) this week to raise some of the queries being received from our members. The briefing was given by representatives from the NHSE Vaccination Programme, Health Education England (HEE) and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). Some of the key points covered were:

  • 4.4 million people vaccinated in one month.
  • Aim is to get the over 70’s, plus people who are shielding vaccinated by the middle of February.
  • Over 60% of over 80’s vaccinated.
  • 60% care home residents have been vaccinated.
  • Shielding staff should continue to shield regardless of how many doses of the vaccine they have had.
  • Breastfeeding has now been taken out of the list of cautions meaning that breastfeeding women can now choose to be vaccinated.
  • Pregnant workers should have a conversation with their healthcare professional or GP – no longer automatically advised to not have the vaccine.
  • No evidence or logical way that it should affect fertility.
  • Anyone who is patient facing should be vaccinated – irrespective of employer or job title. If someone does not have an NHS number, raise it with your line manager to resolve as you are entitled to a vaccination.
  • Students are entitled to a vaccination – all you need is your NHS number. 
  • Employers have been advised to use occupational health registers to prioritise workers for the vaccine 1st dose. Regarding 2nd dose – it remains at 12 weeks.  
  • High vaccine uptake is crucial.

 

With regards the vaccination itself, some key points discussed in the briefing were:

  • The vaccines need to be given as a two-dose schedule and the 2nd dose can be given up to 12 weeks later. Priority should be given to giving the 1st dose.
  • Pfizer - very high protection after one dose. 
  • Moderna vaccine is almost identical to Pfizer – except during the trial, they gave their 2nd dose at 28 days, instead of 21 days.
  • Oxford AstraZeneca – 2nd dose given at many different times during the trials. 60% beyond 6 weeks, many at 12 weeks. Protective effect from 1st dose lasts for at least 12 weeks.
  • All three trials show lots of protection after the 1st dose. All use the same protein. The platforms are different in getting it into the body – but the spike protein is the same. So not expecting the immune response to differ between them. Scientific point of view – do not feel there is a strong reason to suspect there will be any difference. Good evidence to suggest that 1st dose will generate a good response that will last for at least 12 weeks.
  • From a public health point of view – the decision was taken to ensure twice the number of people to be vaccinated, rather than a smaller number.
  • Reality is the choice between vaccinating more healthcare workers with one dose or less healthcare workers with two at this time.
  • The UK has one of the best vaccination systems in the world. So if any signal of danger (poor protection), Public Health England (PHE) will spot this from UK data.
  • Consent for vaccination is required, but not the form itself.  Need consent each time a vaccination is given – the consent form is for that, not for the second dose being given three weeks later.
  • Evidence from the clinical trials shows that anyone who contracts Covid-19 after the vaccination is likely to have less severe reactions to the virus compared to those who have not been vaccinated.
  • Do not mix vaccines is the very clear advice at this time. But there is flexibility if someone does not know what vaccine they had 1st - but this should not be an issue in the UK where people have been vaccinated here. 
  • There are enough vaccines for the current Cohorts being prioritised.

 

More Information:

Most clinical questions can be answered in the Greenbook chapter 14a which is regularly updated.

Royal College of Midwives has issued fupdated advice on COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy and women who are breastfeeding.

Health Education England have published further guidance for students during Covid-19.

You can read GMBs current statement on Covid-19 Vaccinations at the Coronavirus Hub.

 

KEEPING SAFE AT WORK & RISK ASSESSMENTS

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has issued further advice as a result of the new variant of Covid-19 on ways to mitigate transmission risks.

“Existing mitigation measures (social distancing, ventilation, hand hygiene and mask usage) remain important, but given the increase in risk associated with the new variant, a commensurate strengthening in the measures taken may be needed.”

This means that because the virus is more infectious and the risk has increased, greater use of all these mitigations and a review of all risk assessments should be performed. The full set of any measures outlined in a risk assessment now needs to be implemented to the fullest.

Some key points to note in keeping workplaces safe for all:

  • Every worker who can work from home must do so.
  • All clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) (shielding) workers must remain at home.
  • Standards of ventilation should be the highest achievable. This does not mean ignoring temperatures and regular temperature checks should be carried out.
  • Social distancing must be rigorously adhered to in all areas including communal areas, common parts and canteens.
  • Handwashing must be maintained, and wash facilities provided.
  • Hygiene standards must be the highest achievable in terms of cleanliness and frequency of cleaning.
  • All requirements for PPE and face coverings must be met in full with access to supplies as needed.
  • Every worker who has been identified as being at a higher risk from Covid-19 should be individually assessed and suitable additional measures implemented.
  • All workers who are required to self-isolate must be able to do so without fear of detriment.

GMB expects that GMB Health & Safety Representatives are involved in all workplace inspections and that these are carried out as frequently as possible, and daily if appropriate to do so. There should be regular (daily if possible) health and safety meetings to discuss and address current issues as they arise. Communication and updates with the whole workforce is essential.

If you have any concerns about health and safety in your workplace or regarding your individual risk assessment, please speak to your local GMB Representative immediately.

 

QUARANTINE

NHS Staff Council have issued revised Quarantine Guidance. It takes into consideration the most recent Government announcement on 18th January regarding the closure of travel corridors and requirement for negative Covid-19 tests.

This can be accessed online at: COVID19-and-quarantine-revised-Jan-2021.pdf 

GMB’s priority remains in keeping our members safe at work which is why throughout the Pandemic we have been regularly updating our Coronavirus Hub with all the information you need to keep yourself safe. You can check it out at The Coronavirus Hub

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)

GMB continues to have concerns about the safety of our members in the workplace, specifically regarding PPE. We continue to hear reports of PPE that is low in quality and protection. GMB has consistently called on Government to review Public Health England guidance and increase the level of protection available to our members working in health and social care.

This issue is a priority more than ever now as we see the effects of a new strain of the virus with higher transmission rates. The Government have a responsibility to do everything in their power now to protect workers.

GMB has contacted Government again calling on them to increase PPE guidance to level 3 for all health and social care workers who need it.

Read a copy of our press statement and the letter.

 

Date: 14/01/21

COVID-19 VACCINATION

New operational guidance has now been issued regarding the vaccination of frontline health and social care workers. This provides for an immediate requirement to vaccinate frontline health and social care workers.

NHS Trusts (including acute, mental health, community and ambulance trusts) have now been instructed to establish ‘hospital hubs’ by mid-January with responsibility for the vaccination of individuals. It outlines that priority is to be given to frontline staff at ‘high risk of acquiring infection, at high individual risk of developing serious disease, or at risk of transmitting infection to multiple vulnerable persons or other staff in a healthcare environment. This includes but is not limited to:

  • staff working on the vaccination.
  • staff who have frequent face-to-face contact with patients and who are directly involved in patient care in either secondary or primary care, mental health, urgent and emergency care and community settings.
  • those working in independent, voluntary and non-standard healthcare settings such as hospices, and community-based mental health or addiction services.
  • laboratory, pathology and mortuary staff.
  • those working for a sub-contracted provider of facilities services such as portering or cleaning.
  • temporary, locum or ‘bank’ staff, including those working in the COVID-19 vaccination programme, students, trainees and volunteers who are working with patients.
  • frontline social care workers directly working with vulnerable people who need care and support irrespective of where they work (for example in hospital, people’s own homes, day centres, or supported housing); or who they are employed by (for example local government, NHS, independent sector or third sector).

GMB supports the vaccination programme and the prioritisation of vaccination of all health and social care staff. However, we understand there may be reasons why an individual cannot be vaccinated. Individuals should discuss any issues or concerns they have with their line manager and contact your local GMB Representative for support if required.

The Government have published detailed information regarding the vaccine for healthcare workers which we would advise our members to read. It can be accessed at:

COVID-19 vaccination: guide for healthcare workers - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Guidance has also been issued for women of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding. It can be accessed at:

COVID-19 vaccination: a guide for women of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

GMB’s priority remains in keeping our members safe at work which is why throughout the Pandemic we have been regularly updating our Coronavirus Hub with all the information you need to keep yourself safe.

Get it right! - GMB Coronavirus Hub.

You can also access NHS & Ambulance Service specific advice at: NHS and COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions

If you have concerns that you may have contracted Covid-19 in the workplace, please record your details on the GMB Risk Register at: COVID-19 Risk Register

 

ARE YOUR CONTACT DETAILS CORRECT?

It is essential that your membership details are up to date so that we can ensure you are kept up to date with advice and guidance relevant to you.

You can update your details by contacting your local GMB Representative or online using the GMB website at gmb.org.uk/mygmb-edit

 

UNION VISITS TO YOUR WORKPLACE

It will be many months before we see a return to any form of ‘normality’. Covid-19 will still present a danger to health care workers and the people you care for. As a result, it means that your GMB Union Representatives may continue to have difficulties visiting you in your workplaces.

However, we want you to know that we are still here. We are considering a variety of ways that we can get information to you and engage with you on your issues in the workplace. One way to do this is to arrange a virtual online meeting for your workplace.

If you would like to book one of these meetings please contact your local GMB representative or email NHS@gmb.org.uk

 

Date: 12/01/2021

GMB Letter to Secretary of State for Health & Social Care

GMB have written to Matt Hancock raising our members' concerns around the current guidance for PPE in Health & Social Care settings.

Our suggestions included:

"...specifying higher performance face coverings and masks, this should particularly be considered in settings where people are more vulnerable to the consequences of the disease and/or are more likely to be infectious."

"...engineering, procedural and personal controls... [to be] applied rigorously to ensure they are effective."

"Organisations and individuals should reassess their environments in the light of new evidence about transmissibility of the new variant to consider whether they have maximised all the steps they can take to reduce the probability of transmission."

The full letter is available to read here, we will update the noticeboard in the event we recieve a response.

Date: 06/01/2021

COVID-19 VACCINATION – ENGLAND

Advice has now been issued to all NHS Trusts, Foundation Trusts, Primary Care Networks and GPs regarding the Covid-19 vaccination programme which states that all frontline health and social care staff should be prioritised for vaccination. NHS Trusts HRDs and local vaccination services are responsible for overseeing the vaccination of NHS staff - frontline staff to be prioritised.

12 weeks is the maximum length of time that should be between the first and second dose and both doses must be from the same vaccine type.

NHS England have a dedicated webpage where you can access all the latest information on the vaccine programme - Coronavirus » COVID-19 vaccination programme (england.nhs.uk)

Statistics regarding the numbers of vaccinations will also be regularly updated at - Statistics » COVID-19 Vaccinations (england.nhs.uk)


COVID-19 FAQ

The GMB NHS & Ambulance Service Covid-19 Frequently Asked Questions has now been updated. It collates all of the Covid-19 information and guidance specific to NHS and Ambulance members in one place. Please check regularly for updates and share it with your colleagues.

NHS and COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions | GMB

 

RISK ASSESSMENTS

Employers must carry out a risk assessment, looking specifically at risks of exposure to Covid-19. All steps must be taken to reduce the risk of employees catching the virus to as low as possible. Risk assessments must be carried out by a ‘competent’ person – someone who knows and understands both the workplace and the work. In GMB recognised workplaces, we expect Safety Reps to be consulted on any risk assessment carried out.

Once the risk assessment is performed and the necessary measures are in place, it is critical that the standards are upheld, and the risk assessment regularly reviewed to ensure it is still accurate. During the current Covid pandemic, the situation is changing regularly and dramatically, and three months is too long between inspections and meetings. GMB firmly believes that inspections should be much more frequent, and specific to consider primarily Covid issues.

For most workplaces, a weekly inspection and committee meeting should be implemented, to ensure that any issues identified can be urgently addressed. In some workplace where either the Covid risk is high, or workers are grouped into many cohorts (small teams), it may be better to organise daily floor walks, so that cohorts do not have to mix. Whichever method is adopted, the most important consideration is that issues can be quickly identified and addressed, and the information can be quickly shared with the workforce.  

GMB expects employers to be updating risk assessments in consideration of the new variants of the virus. Please speak to your local GMB Rep if you have concerns about risk assessments in your workplace.

 

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)

GMB continues to have concerns regarding PPE for healthcare workers. Government have informed us that there are sufficient supplies of PPE to see us through winter and the Pandemic. However, this is based on the current Public Health England (PHE) guidance which GMB still does not agree offers sufficient protection. GMB contacted PHE and the Department of Health & Social Care again with our concerns on 14th December 2020. We will continue to campaign for the highest possible level of protection for our members.

 

GMB’s priority remains in keeping our members safe at work which is why throughout the Pandemic we have been regularly updating our Coronavirus Hub with all the information you need to keep yourself safe. You can check it out at: Get It Right | The Coronavirus Hub

 

You can also access NHS & Ambulance Service specific advice at: NHS and COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions

If you have concerns that you may have contracted Covid-19 in the workplace, please record your details on the GMB COVID-19 Risk Register

 

ARE YOUR CONTACT DETAILS CORRECT?

It is essential that your membership details are up to date so that we can ensure you are kept up to date with advice and guidance relevant to you.

You can update your details by contacting your local GMB Representative or online using the GMB website at gmb.org.uk/mygmb-edit

 

UNION VISITS TO YOUR WORKPLACE

It will be many months before we see a return to any form of ‘normality’. Covid-19 will still present a danger to health care workers and the people you care for. As a result, it means that your GMB Union Representatives may continue to have difficulties visiting you in your workplaces.

However, we want you to know that we are still here. We are considering a variety of ways that we can get information to you and engage with you on your issues in the workplace. One way to do this is to arrange a virtual online meeting for your workplace.

If you would like to book one of these meetings please contact your local GMB representative or email NHS@gmb.org.uk

 

Not a GMB Member? Join the union for NHS staff today

 More information about being a GMB Representative in your workplace?

Follow and like our Facebook Page – GMB Union NHS Workers

Follow us on Twitter - @GMBNHS

 

Date: 21/12/2020

END OF YEAR ROUND UP

As the year comes to an end, GMB Union wants to thank all of our NHS & Ambulance Service members for their hard work and efforts during the year, keeping us safe and cared for, and for their continued membership with GMB.

This year has been extremely difficult for everyone, but especially for all those who continued to work throughout the Coronavirus Pandemic (Covid-19) providing essential services within our NHS.  We have had to collectively fight from the start of Covid-19 to ensure our members were protected – physically, mentally and financially.

We have made many representations to Ministers and the Department of Health & Social Care, ensuring they knew the reality of what our members were facing on the frontline. GMB has also participated in regular meetings with Department of Health Representatives, NHS Employers and other health unions from the start of Covid-19, ensuring GMB members voices have a platform to be heard.

We have had some successes throughout the year which include:

  • Upgrading of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) guidance and influenced the Government’s taking back central control of the logistics for delivery and supply.
  • Free car parking.
  • Protection of pay for Covid-19 related absences.
  • Extension of full sick pay for outsourced staff.
  • Requisition of private hospital beds.
  • Access to regular testing.
  • Death in Service Life Assurance Scheme for Covid-19 deaths.

It is without doubt that healthcare workers have been consistently failed throughout Covid-19 and that is why GMB will not stop calling for an independent inquiry into the Government’s handling of the Pandemic. Unfortunately, that inquiry will come too late for the hundreds of health and social care workers who have lost their lives.

GMB’s priority remains in keeping our members safe at work which is why throughout the Pandemic we have been regularly updating our Coronavirus Hub with all the information you need to keep yourself safe.

You can check it out at:

GMB Coronavirus Hub

NHS and COVID-19: FAQs

 

If you have concerns that you may have contracted Covid-19 in the workplace, please record your details on the GMB Risk Register:

COVID-19 Risk Register

A mental health crisis is looming within the NHS. This comes after years of cuts to services and the inability of the service to recruit and retain staff, which led to a 100,000+ vacancy crisis prior to Covid-19. Almost a year of fighting Covid-19, with little or no time to rest and recover before we headed into the second wave and winter has left many NHS staff unable to cope. If you are struggling, please speak out - we've put some resources together for people seeking help: 

Mental Health Support

 

Covid-19 Vaccination

It is with great relief that some of our elderly population have now been vaccinated. It will take many months for people in the prioritised categories to be vaccinated but we hope to see the vaccination programme roll out speedily and efficiently over the coming months.

Health and social care workers have been identified as a priority group of workers to be vaccinated and we have already started to see NHS staff be vaccinated, although the vast majority will not have access until the New Year.

GMB supports the Covid-19 vaccination programme and would encourage our members to have both the Flu and Covid-19 vaccination. However, this is not mandatory, and we understand that some of our members are not able to be vaccinated e.g. for health reasons; pregnancy; etc. We therefore would expect that no member suffers a financial detriment as a result of not being vaccinated. If you have any concerns regarding this, please speak with your local GMB Representative.

 

NHS Pay

The campaign for pay justice continues. GMB’s pay claim to Government is:

  • 15% or £2 per hour, whichever is the greater
  • One year deal
  • Unsocial Hours Payments when on Sick for all NHS staff
  • Never again should NHS pay fall below the Real Living Wage

Government have now published their much-delayed remit to the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB) asking them to make a recommendation on your pay. However, GMB is disappointed with the Government’s misleading use of statistics in the remit letter and potential restrictions placed upon the PRB.

READ MORE

GMB will be submitting evidence into the PRB using the data from the three all member consultation surveys we have carried out this year.

Some of the results from the most recent survey showed that:

  • Over 61% of respondents have considered leaving the NHS in the last six months, with the main reason being stress, pay and workloads.
  • Over 70% of respondents are working additional hours above their contract and almost 14% of those work the additional hours unpaid.
  • There are still Band 1 workers who have not been supported to transfer to Band 2, despite this being a part of the last pay award.
  • 44% of ambulance service respondents have decided not to pursue a promotion in order to protect their unsocial hours payments.
  • There are many Trusts that have started charging staff for car parking again, despite the Pandemic not being over.
  • Almost 31% of respondents do not receive any support or financial protection if they have to take time off work for dependents.

Check out our dedicated campaign website where you can see exactly how much money you have lost in your pay packets since 2010. You can also download and share campaign resources, order campaign merchandise and sign our petition at: We're campaigning for pay justice in our NHS | GMB

 

Are your contact details correct?

It is essential that your membership details are up to date so that we can ensure you are kept up to date with developments in the pay campaign and receive a ballot paper when they are issued.

You can update your details by contacting your local GMB Representative or online.

 

Union Visits to your Workplace

It will be many months before we see a return to any form of ‘normality’. Covid-19 will still present a danger to health care workers and the people you care for. As a result, it means that your GMB Union Representatives may continue to have difficulties visiting you in your workplaces. However, we want you to know that we are still here. We are considering a variety of ways that we can get information to you and engage with you on your issues in the workplace. One way to do this is to arrange a virtual online meeting for your workplace. If you would like to book one of these in please contact your local GMB representative or email NHS@gmb.org.uk

 

GMB Representative Taster Sessions

Have you ever been interested in the role of GMB Representative in your workplace but unsure whether you have the skills or can commit the time? Why not join one of our NHS Rep Taster Sessions? If you’re interested, email NHS@gmb.org.uk and we will be in touch with more details.

 

Lee Mead – Exclusive Ticket Giveaway

Lee Mead is best known for winning the title role in the 2007 West End revival of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat through the BBCs show ‘Any Dream Will Do’. He is also known for starring in Casualty and Holby City.

As a thank you to GMB key workers he is giving away 1000 tickets to his 2021 tour in England and Wales. You can enter the ballot to win two tickets at: https://bit.ly/3oUK0zj

 

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

The Pandemic is far from over as we continue through the second wave of Covid-19 and face the winter pressures. GMB will continue to be by your side throughout.

We hope that you get some time over the Christmas holidays to rest and spend time with your families and loved ones. We wish you and your families a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

GMB Union NHS Workers on Facebook - Twitter: @GMBNHS

 

Date: 14/12/2020

PAY JUSTICE UPDATE

GMB Writes to Government to challenge PPE Guidance

Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer for NHS and Social Care, has written to: 

Public Health England

NHS England

The Department of Health & Social Care 

On behalf of our members in the NHS and Social Care, we are challenging the following areas where the national guidance is inadequate or innacurate:

  • Increasing evidence regarding airborne transmission.
  • Lack of ventilation and social distancing space in many healthcare settings.
  • Increasing numbers of asymptomatic staff testing positive for Covid-19.
  • Incorrect details in the list of what constitutes an Aerosol Generating Procedure.
  • Insufficient protection for staff with a surgical mask.

We will update members in the event we recieve a response or that the guidance is clarified.

 

Date: 09/12/2020

2021

GMB, the Union for NHS Staff, continues to campaign for Pay Justice for all NHS Staff. After a decade of austerity, keyworkers in the NHS have lost out financially and warm words and claps will no longer suffice. Check to see how much money you have lost in real terms here:

HOW MUCH DID THEY PINCH?

GMB has launched a petition to call on the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock, to do the right thing and give NHS workers the pay they deserve. Please sign and share:

PAY PINCH PETITION

Thank you to everyone who took time to complete the third all member GMB survey. There was an overwhelming response and the data will now be collated and used as a part of GMB’s submission into the Pay Review Body.

Thank you also to all those members who expressed an interest in being a GMB Representative and attended one of our Workplace Representative Taster Sessions. If you would like more infromation on getting ivolved in this campaign or being a GMB representative in your workplace, please speak to your local GMB representative or email NHS@gmb.org.uk

Health Unions Coordinated Campaign

GMB continues to work with other health trade unions to lobby government for an ‘early and significant pay increase’ in the form of a fully funded one year deal. We have not received a response from government to our request for them to meet us to negotate this year’s pay increase.

We have now heard NHS workers will be exempt from governments proposals to freeze public sector pay and that a remit will be given to the Pay Review Body to make a recommendation on pay. We still await for the formal remit letter to be issued.

Health unions are continuing to work towards a provisional timeline of 18th January 2021 for written submissions to be made to the PRB and the joint union submission is currently being finalised.

 

Date: 25/09/2020

THE USE OF PPE IN CLINICAL SETTINGS COVID 19

The issue of Personal Protective Equipment in the NHS has been one of the biggest problems faced by GMB members working in clinical settings during the Coronavirus Pandemic.
 
Guidance published by Public Health England has been criticised by many, including GMB, for being insufficient at times and driven by supply and stock issues rather than what provides the best protection from Covid 19 for healthcare workers. GMB remains committed to ensuring lessons have been learnt as we head into winter and a potential second peak.
 
All staff have the right to PPE, irrelevant of job role GMB has campaigned for better protection and access to PPE for all of our members and will continue to do so throughout this Pandemic. PHE guidance is the minimal protection that needs to b e provided GMB expects more for our members.
 
GMB wants to bring to your attention the following key points:
  • Sessional use means 1 worker, 1 shift.
  • The guidance states that gowns or coveralls can be used for an entire session of work in higher risk areas. However, more than one may be needed should a worker have to remove it or change it during the session or if they move between areas.
  • Fluid repellant surgical masks and eye protection can be used for an entire session of work. The guidance for PPE that is suitable for reuse in cases of extreme shortages, is to be reused by that individual only and not shared amongst workers, with appropriate cleaning performed after each use. A detergent product either combined sequentially with a decontamination product should be used to clean the item, rinsed thoroughly and left to dry. However, GMB believes that PPE should be disposed of and not reused in all circumstances and NHS Trusts should be working to ensure there are no shortages in supplies.
  • Reusable face masks should be carefully folded so the outer surface is held inwards and should be stored in a clean sealable bag box marked with the persons name. Fit checks should be performed each time a respirator is donned if it is reused.
  • Hand hygiene shoul d be practiced and extended to exposed forearms, after the removal of PPE.
  • All staff should adhere to social distancing (2 meters) wherever possible.
  • Staff should take regular breaks and rest periods. Breaks should be staggered to limit the numbers of staff in communal rest areas.
It is essential that all health care staff wear the appropriate PPE. When doing so, staff are reminded that they are entitled to take regular breaks, rest periods and increase fluid intake. Breaks should be staggered to limit the numbers of staff in communal rest areas.
 

Date: 11/08/2020

NHS PAY 2021 UPDATE

Contact your MP on the issue of NHS Pay!

Politicians work for you. They want to hear from you about what is important to you. They have a duty to listen and respond.

The easiest way to let them know what you think about NHS pay is to write to them. A physical letter is best as it has the most impact, but an email works too. The most impact comes from you writing in your own words about why you deserve a substantial pay increase as an NHS worker.

Below is a list of points you may wish to consider when drafting your letter or email:

  • If you have been working in the NHS throughout the last decade, tell them about how your pay has been held down for years – and if you have ways of demonstrating the impact that has had on you and your family, tell them. These personal details are so important and really effective.
  • Tell them what it has been like to work in the NHS during the pandemic. If you have had worries and concerns but gone into work nonetheless, tell them.
  • If you are having financial difficulties especially if they are caused by the pandemic and are comfortable telling them about this, please do so.
  • Say that you support GMB’s call for an early and substantial pay rise for all NHS staff like yourself. April 2021 is too long to wait. It should be brought forward into this year.
  • Ask them directly but politely if they support your call for an early and substantial pay rise.
  • If you are in England: ask them specifically to write on your behalf to both the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, calling for an early and substantial pay rise for NHS frontline staff. Ask them to sign the Early Day Motion 742: Early Pay Rise for NHS Staff.
  • If you are in Scotland: ask them specifically to write on your behalf to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, calling for an early and substantial pay rise for NHS frontline staff.
  • If you are in Wales: ask them specifically to write on your behalf to the Minister for Health and Social Services, calling for an early and substantial pay rise for NHS frontline staff.
  • If you are in Northern Ireland: ask them specifically to write on your behalf to the Minister of Health, calling for an early and substantial pay rise for NHS frontline staff.

You can find the relevant contact details at:

England - members.parliament.uk/FindYourMP

Scotland - beta.parliament.scot/msps/current-and-previous-msps

Wales - business.senedd.wales/mgFindMember.aspx

Northern Ireland - aims.niassembly.gov.uk/mlas/search.aspx

 
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