UNISON set to present Betsi Cadwaladr findings to health board

UNION will carry out further survey to check that the health board has implemented measures to improve conditions

UNISON Cymru/Wales is to present the findings of its thorough review of what it is like to work for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to the senior management team at a board meeting today.

UNISON’s North Wales health branch pro-actively initiated a listening exercise to discover the extent of problems across the board’s hospitals in the wake of allegations of historic abuse and the imposition of special measures by the Welsh government.

Members of the union reported:

  • low morale;
  • frustration at being associated with poor service; and
  • a sense of powerlessness because managers did not consult or listen to them.

They feel constantly beset with change and negative media coverage, all of which increase stress and contribute to an unhealthy working environment.

The staff at Betsi Cadwaladr are horrified that the behaviour of a tiny minority has damaged the esteem that the overwhelming dedicated majority are held in.

Branch secretary of North Wales health branch, Jan Tomlinson, said: “Presenting the board with our authoritative report represents what we hope will initiate a new era at Betsi.

“Individual health care workers must be assured that the board will address the working culture within Betsi, listen to staff concerns and act upon them.

“The board must work with UNISON to find a solution to these long-standing problems and today we have offered a series of recommendations as to how improvements can be made. As a minimum, health workers should expect dignity and respect at work.”

UNISON recommendations include:

  • an evaluation of current practices concerning sickness absence and leave;
  • training for managers on how to trust staff and create open, respectful dialogue;
  • an improved system of appraisal;
  • consistent and fair application of company employment policies including the disciplinary and grievance procedure and protection for whistleblowers.

The union will repeat the extensive survey of members in six months to ensure that remedial measures implemented are working to improve conditions for patients and staff.