RepsDirect No 273 - 26 May 2004

Head of Health, Gail Cartmail General Secretary, Derek Simpson

City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Trust - ‘big bang’

Many Reps/Stewards will have picked up great dissatisfaction being expressed by many of our Amicus members employed at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Trust, an Early Implementer site. City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Trust decided, in partnership, to assimilate on a ‘big bang’ basis. About 3,500 employees were informed of their pay bands last week. Many are unhappy.

The AfC Proposed Agreement defines the role of EIs as “a testbed for the new system to deal with any teething problem…" This said, our members expect that any errors that occur within these testbeds be rectified without detriment. In this context it is predictable that errors in process and judgement will be made at most EIs however the scale of the impact of the ‘big bang’ is considerable and we believe it is important that members are aware of what Amicus is doing.

Some reps/stewards alerted us of concerns in relation to job descriptions - in particular it seems that in at least one department existing JDs were submitted and on the basis of clusters defined by grade. It is correct that the JE Handbook refers to existing JDs however training and subsequent guidance requires JDs to be agreed between the postholder and manager. It is this standard that we expect all employers to apply. Recently we have also discovered apparent anomalies in job matching procedures.

Amicus has raised concerns about City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Trust at consecutive meetings of the Shadow Executive and this has resulted in a meeting between the SE and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Trust next week where we aim to establish what has occurred and why.

On site our reps/stewards met 24 May and there will be a mass meeting of our member’s later this week. Amicus is encouraging members to lodge individual grievances and reviews on the grounds that we believe procedures used may have resulted in unfair outcomes.

Amicus has also raised at Strategic Health Authority level our concern to ensure that agreed procedures for matching are adhered to as well as compliance with guidance on JDs and other process issues.

In the meantime our key message is that Amicus is aware of the problem and we are determined to get agreement on how to correct any mistakes made. When this is achieved we will evaluate the outcomes.

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