NSL Care Services – Kent is consulting with its employees and trade unions in order to revise the shift patterns. These revisions are crucial if we are to meet the needs of patients eligible for Patient Transport Services (PTS) throughout the region, as well as to fulfil the extended hours of service contracted by the Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).
The on-going and advanced consultative process, which includes meetings with trade union representatives, as well as group and one-to-one meetings between employees and managers, includes carefully reviewing individual employee requests, whilst balancing the needs of the patient and the extended hours service. An additional week has been afforded to those employees who have stated that they require extra support in transitioning to their revised shift times.
The consultation process supports the important role played by unions in representing their members. At recent meetings where revised shift patterns were discussed, Unison fully participated and made no objections. It was disappointing to note, however, that whilst the GMB representative was in attendance at the initial meeting, no GMB representative was present at subsequent meetings.
Despite the additional support offered to those who need the help in transitioning, we were disappointed to learn that GMB intends to ballot its membership and that the only two options on the ballot form are ‘to take action’ or ‘to take action short of strike’ – there was no option to refuse any action, meaning a failure to present all choices and thus more accurately reflect the wishes of our colleagues.
NSL acknowledges that Kent Care Service employees have had to undergo operational difficulties as a result of the operations not meeting the demands of the contract, and that morale could be much higher. This is the key aim for NSL, and only further emphasises the importance of revised working patterns, the main rationale being to address the operational difficulties that are impacting upon both patients and employees.
NSL’s employees are viewed as the organisation’s greatest asset – NSL is a people business – demonstrated by its coveted Investor
in People GOLD accreditation, as well as its first-class employee retention rate. And we are sure that, once the revised shift patterns are implemented, patient and employee satisfaction will be significantly improved all round, and that we can work in effective partnership and a spirit of co-operation with all.
Notes to Editors:
For further information, please contact Dr Belinda Webb, NSL Head of Communications, on 020 7430 6912 or 07825 088794.
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