A new website to support partnerships between NHS staff and trade unions was announced yesterday (14 April 2009) by Health Minister Ann Keen.
The Social Partnership Forum (SPF) is a partnership between the Department of Health, NHS Employers and NHS trade unions to improve working relationships and involve partners in the workforce implications of NHS policy development.
The new SPF website includes advice and materials to support and encourage partnership working between employers and trade unions at all levels in the NHS. It contains examples of good practice and a selection of toolkits to support regional and local partnership working.
The site also includes details and application materials for the new NHS Partnership Fund. NHS organisations can bid for money from this £500,000 fund to support partnership projects that support NHS Constitution pledges, meet local organisational goals, effectively communicate and engage with NHS staff and improve the quality of patient care.
"Employers and unions working constructively together on a project can make a real difference," said Mrs Keen. "The SPF has successfully looked into ways in which it can increase staff involvement in improving patient services, therefore delivering on commitments made in the NHS Constitution.
"The NHS workforce delivers some of the best healthcare in the world, day in, day out, but our aspiration is to build on their achievements to date and to continue to go from strength to strength to deliver the highest quality care to patients."
Karen Jennings, Chair of the SPF Staff Side, said: "Instilling a culture of partnership working into the bedrock of the NHS will pay dividends for patients and staff. It makes sense to listen to staff and their trade unions and to share the experience and innovations generated by them across the whole of the NHS. I have no doubt that the result will lead to better patient care."
Should general practice teams work in partnership with trade unions? Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
"Yes, there is mileage and benefits of working together. It improves working relationships and trust" – P Ramtohul, Yorkshire