Agreed principles for Health and Social Care staffing crisis

We previously wrote about the staffing crisis in Health and Social Care, sharing the opportunities for staff and highlighting some origins of the crisis. We understand the need for this radical move and offer support to the Council and to all staff that decide to help out in these difficult times.

Staff that honourably take on work in social care must be adequately supported and protected by their employer—as do existing social care staff who may be concerned with the arrival of staff new to the field. There also needs to be careful work around the services that reduce due to staff going over to work in social care.

Unite, GMB and Unison have agreed the following principles with the Scottish Government and COSLA.

Joint statement on prioritisation of Social Care principles for engagement

In achieving the aim of prioritising social care it is recognised that where possible volunteering to assist in other roles will play a part. As such the following high level principles will support effective and proactive engagement with Trade Unions locally to ensure staff feel safe, protected and supported to take on time limited roles. Local Resilience Partnerships are asked to ensure as part of their ongoing process that the following arrangements are in place and met:

  1. Appropriate and early Trade Union engagement when initiating discussions on standing services down
  2. Transparency of decision making by sharing appropriate data and rationale for temporary closure/redeployment of staff
  3. There should be engagement with local Trade Union representatives to ensure those who volunteer receive the appropriate recompense for those undertaking additional duties
  4. Early and ongoing engagement with Trade Union representatives and individual employees to ensure that training, line management, PPE provision, individual risk assessments and mental health and wellbeing supports are put in place
  5. Full and early consideration of roles and tasks appropriate for redeployment ensuring no individual is placed in a circumstance that is inappropriate to their level of skill and/or experience

These principles have been agreed by Scottish Government, COSLA and Trade Unions to continue to support Local Partnerships nationally by ensuring appropriate resource is made available where required. This will include ensuring appropriate disclosure and professional registration processes are prioritised as necessary and ongoing requests for support from wider partners in the third, voluntary and private sectors. They will also continue ongoing dialogue to ensure that Local Government is given sufficient financial resource to maintain the response to the pandemic, recognise their workers for their role in the pandemic response whilst also looking at the medium and longer term needs of the sector.

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