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Partnership day shows it’s good to talk

HCSA was present at the launch of a new Social Partnership initiative – but it was Brexit that dominated

The best way to resolve issues is to ensure that they do not become issues in the first place.

That is why regional Social Partnership Forums, which bring together delegates representing NHS unions and HR managers from local trusts, form a key area of HCSA’s approach.

National Officer Ro Marsh represented the association at the inaugral meeting of the joint South Coast/South-East Coast SPF, hosted by NHS England in London the Monday following the UK’s Brexit voite.

“Because the event was only a few days after the referendum result it was inevitable that the focus was on the implications and impact on ‘Brexit’ for the NHS,” she says.

“Delegates expressed concern around recruitment and retention, and the need to engage, support and reassure staff following the result.”

Trade union Managers in Partnership Chief Executive Jon Restell, who led the first plenary session alongside Claire Sullivan of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, notes: “There is a clear consensus among unions and employers that the number one workforce challenge in the NHS is about staff shortages and the knock-on for workload and staff well-being. The negative consequences for patient care are obvious.

“We don’t want to add to this challenge with prolonged uncertainty about the future status of EU workers in the NHS.

“Everyone should put their arm around EU colleagues, make clear they are valued and show zero tolerance of abuse and racism.”

It is hoped that the new SPF will become a regular fixture.

NHS Employers Head of Engagement for the south Liz Gambrell says: “The event provided a backdrop for delegates to explore real areas to work on in partnership that support a common purpose of improving staff experience for the benefit of both staff and patients.

“Feedback comments were very much around feeling engaged and being inspired to go and share ideas.

“We now expect to see South East Coast and South Central RSPFs going forward with renewed energy and purpose!”

Plans are already being floated for the next joint event.