Our Health Committee is calling on the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland employers to develop a “Skills Charter” which would see significant investment in support workers across the NHS. The call was made as we launched our own ‘Health in UNISON, Skills Charter’
We welcome the commitment shown by the employers and the Scottish Government to remove the lowest paid Band one from the NHS pay scales in Scotland. However there is much more untapped and underutilised potential within our support staff membership and the development of a Skills Charter will create both greater efficiencies and better patient experience as we support these workers to utilise their skills and experience.
For too long politicians and NHS leaders have sought to drive savings out of our NHS by reducing posts and reorganising services, in doing so they have created staffing shortages in some professions and stifled innovation in others. We believes that by helping ‘Assistants’ become registered staff or to take on more complex duties the NHS will save money and enthuse a whole section of the workforce.
We continue to oppose cuts to called backroom services. It is becoming more and more apparent that these cuts have demoralised these members and that there are serious skills gaps and that valued colleagues feel stuck. The creation of an Admin and Clerical Structure will go a long way to reverse the decline, but it will also ensure that this key group of workers in our NHS have a clear and transparent career path.
If our NHS is to meet the challenges ahead, we need to ensure that every member of staff gets the opportunity to learn, develop and be fairly rewarded for their skills and enthusiasm. We must think beyond the current narrow structures and professional silos. We must invest in our workforce and use their skills, experience and commitment to the full.