RepsDirect No 174 - 10 April 2003

Head of Health, Roger Spiller General Secretary, Roger Lyons

1 Agenda For Change

A number of Amicus members have querried a confusing statement on the RCN web site. This implies that there will be additional increases in pay beyond the proposed 10% over 3 years.

This is not wrong but needs explanation.

The basic increase in each of the three years 2003, 4 and 5 will be 3.255%

In addition the wage bill will increase by about 5% over two years 2004 and 2005 due to the implementation of the new grading structure. This is the total average figure. Some will get little or nothing, many will receive substantial increases.

There is no preferential treatment for any group of staff, Equal Value applies to all terms and conditions and of course pay increases, once we have established equity.

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2 Speech & Language Therapy Job Profiles

Many questions have been asked as to the process used for establishing and scoring job profiles. An example is provided here in this report from Jenni Kay, the Speech and Language Therapy rep from the North West. The results, in the form of new and  revised profiles, should be available within the next two weeks. The OAC Secretary and leading lay members will then be asked for their views and whether the profiles can be signed off. If any cannot, then we shall review those profiles further with the profiling team.


Purpose of meeting - for S.L.T.'s and S.L.T. Managers to meet with job analysts in order for different grades of jobs to be bench marked for the national job profiles.

Format of meeting - 38 therapists were put into groups 4 strong according to their grade.  Following completion of the job evaluation questionnaire, the group then went through the questionnaire factor by factor in great detail with the job analyst, describing exactly what we did.  My group was for therapists graded at top of Band 3 and included Team Leader/Co-ordinators (what DoH call Section Leaders), and expert clinicians without management role!  We went to great pains to explain how one could progress through ones career along parallel paths.  This whole process took 4 hours and/the job analyst certainly had a more complete idea of how complex our profession is at the end of it all.  Copies of the questionnaires have been kept by college and by ourselves, so that we can check on the scoring when that is completed.

Other groups included N.Q.'s, specialists, managers, and expert clinicians/consultant therapists up to and includes Band 5.

The whole process was exhausting and time consuming, but ultimately we do now feel we have been actively involved as a profession.

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3 Health Sector National Advisory Committee

At the Health Sector National Advisory Committee on the 28th March 2003.

Sharon Duncan complained about receiving 'unsolicited' mail from a Speech and Language Therapist. The letter was written to Sharon in her capacity has an NAC delegate, urging her to vote against AFC. It was only addressed to the Trust. She pointed out that she was a member of the NAC as a representative from the CPNA and would represent their views only. Such lobbying of delegates, however done, was innapropriate behaviour and should cease.

Sharon's complaint was upheld by the NAC.

All Health NAC members are there to represent their region or professional group. The meetings are the right place for debates on the issues before the NAC. Lobbying by post or email can be very aggrevating for recipients and may be counter productive. By all means campaign within your own professional/occupations groups and regions, that is where the decisions or mandating takes place. The NAC is where those individual decisions come together. It is important we respect the diversity of views which will inevitably arise within such a broad organisation like Amicus.

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4 CPNs' Clinical Grading Victory

About forty Community Psychiatric Nurses in Bedfordshire and Luton are set to share an estimated 400,000 pay-out, after they were wrongly graded.

We believe that there could be many more community nurses throughout the UK who could benefit as a result of this case.

The nurses work for the Bedfordshire and Luton Community NHS Trust. The settlement - backdated to April 1999 - means that each nurse could benefit to the tune of 2,500 for each of the last four years - an estimated total of 400,000. They are due to receive this windfall in their March pay packets.

Amicus Regional Officer Owen Granfield representing the nurses said: 'In the 1990s due to a downgrading skill mix exercise, these nurses were incorrectly graded when management did not follow the Whitley Council guidelines.'

'The trust has now agreed that the community psychiatric nurses were underpaid and have settled. The nurses will now go from a F to a G grade; from 24,565 to 27,245 a year.'

'I am sure that if the small print of past pay deals is looked at, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of community nurses, could benefit across the country.'

Bedford-based Jo Burgess, the senior amicus rep at the trust; said: "I am absolutely delighted. This is a professional issue where community nurses were being undervalued and we needed Amicus to speak up for us.'

She added: 'There are a number of community learning disability nurses working for this trust who could also benefit in the future. We are currently investigating their position.'

The nurses are members of the 2,700-strong Community Psychiatric Nurses Association, a professional section of amicus.

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5 Health Protection Agency

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has been formed from parts of the PHLS, CAMR, NRPB, and the Chemicals Unit. Many other staff in the former PHLS have been transferred to NHS Trusts.

The Regional Officer who is taking responsibility for the HPA, is Patrick Canavan at our Bristol Office, he has lead the negotiating team for the past year during the merger negotiations. Tina Mackay is handing over details of the remaining PHLS reps to Patrick and the details for those going into the NHS Trusts to the relevant Regional Offices.

Tina Mackay has been Secretary to the PHLS OAC for some years and has ensured an excellent level of organisation at local and national level. I am sure colleagues would wish me to publicly thank Tina for the work that she has completed and the excellent state of organisation she leaves for colleagues to further develop.

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6 Coalition for Medical Progress

Amicus MSF has been to the fore in supporting its members who have suffered harassment and physical attack due to their work involving the use of animals in medical science.  The union has members in research establishments, pharmaceutical companies, universities and, of course, MRC, HPA and the NHS, all of whom carry out innovative and vital research in the search for medical progress.

Over the last two years Amicus MSF has been working with the major pharmaceutical companies, leading research funders, MRC, the BioSciences Federation and Charities with the support of the government to form a coalition of science based organisations.  The aim of the Coalition for Medical Progress is to promote a better understanding of the use of animals in medical research and the standards required to ensure the welfare of such animals.  The Coalition for Medical Progress (CMP) was launched in March this year and I attach a copy of the principles of the organisation.  There is also a website, which will be developed over the coming months.

The Coalition wishes to extend its organisation to attract organisations who conduct and fund animal based research and who agree with the CMP principles.  It is looking for experts, patrons and spokespeople who will work within the Coalition to create that better understanding and counter the more extreme comments which influence the public and provide support for the violent animal activists.

I would be grateful if you would circulate this letter to any members you may have who are involved in the direct or indirect use of animals in research within your Laboratory and ask them to encourage the University to play a positive role in contributing to the work of the Coalition.  We shall be happy to provide more information to any members interested.

Coalition for Medical Progress

Millions of people and animals world-wide have benefited from healthcare advances made possible by research undertaken in the UK.  Biomedical research into life-threatening diseases and other conditions that remain inadequately treated offers the best hope for many millions more.   The Coalition for Medical Progress (CMP) comprises a wide range of organisations working together to engage in public communication concerning biomedical research involving animals. 

As members of CMP we endorse the need for continuing research to:

In conducting such research we:

We support the objectives of CMP to foster public understanding of:

In fostering better communications we:

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