Secretary For Scotland's Report for Guild Council Meeting 3.4.2003

Amicus Senior Reps course, Perth 4-6 February 2003

A report of the meeting can be found here on the website. The course was excellent and it is hoped that it will be an annual event in the future.

back to top

ASTCP meeting 14/2/03

The meeting was addressed by M Fuller and Janis Millar from SPRIG on the topic of Agenda For Change (AfC). Although intended to last for about an hour, the topic was discussed for the majority of the meeting with some very spirited debate. Subsequent to the meeting, a joint letter from ASTCP, GHP, RPSiS and Amicus was composed and sent to Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm requesting a meeting to discuss AfC and the effect on pharmacy services should it be implemented in it's current form.

back to top

Launch of "Partnership For Care" - The Health White Paper - 27/2/03

The paper was launched by the Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm, accompanied by Deputy Health Ministers Frank McAveety and Mary Mulligan. The message was that the overall direction indicated in "Our National Health" was not changing. The intentions were still to improve the health of the people of Scotland and to modernise the NHS.

back to top

NHSScotland Forum Meeting 14.3.03

The meeting was held to discuss "Partnership For Care" and addressed by Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm and NHSScotland Chief Executive Trevor Jones. A separate report of the meeting can be found on the website. I took the opportunity during the question and answer session to broach the subject of pharmacists in AfC and the problems both they and the service faced ifthe current proposals were adopted unchanged. The Minister asked the Chief Executive to respond and he stated that he did not have the detailed information to answer the question. During a subsequent discussion over coffee, I was asked to write to him, explaining the problems. I have done so and await a response.

back to top

Scottish NHS Committee meeting 19/3/03

Scottish Executive Group meeting 9/3/03: This discussed Agenda For Change, Scottish Partnership Forum and the HR Forum. More work is required on the Organising Strategy and once this has been done, it will be circulated to members of the Scottish NHS Committee before it's next meeting. Any comments are to be sent to the Secretary by 11th April.

Senior Reps Course February 2003: Copies of the presentations and the report of the facilitator had been circulated by M Fuller. The facilitator had given a very positive feedback. SEG is to consider the reports and decide on how to proceed with systematic training for reps. Concern was expressed on changes to the union Rule Book which would cut branch funding. As this course had only been possible due to the generosity of the Regional Council and local branches, the funding cuts could jeopardise the ability to run future courses in Scotland. It was agreed that SEG write to the Scottish NEC delegate voicing our concern. It was also agreed that Gail Cartmail should be sent a report of the course.

Agenda For Change: The regional briefing held on 18th March attracted over 100 delegates - approximately 25% of all the Scottish reps. The AfC ballot will be held during the first two weeks of May. Unfortunately this will coincide with the ballot on the Political Fund. Most members now have their home address on the membership database and Amicus is assuming that these are correct. Anyone joining the union up until the day before the ballot starts will automatically get a ballot form as long as the Glasgow office is notified. Pharmacists must be aware that to get a vote and to get representation on any AfC-generated problems, they MUST be members. There are now around 500 pages worth of documentation and Amicus will be compiling a list of documents that each rep should have or have access to. A second edition Job Evaluation Handbook (JEH) will be published at the end of March and a 3rd edition at the end of April. As the early implementers will be constantly testing the profiles, there will be at least a fourth edition. Likewise, the Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF) is on its 6th draft and there will be at least a 7th draft at the end of the early implementation.

There is to be a major roadshow in each Trust in Scotland and this will be used as a means of cascading information downwards. They will probably take place throughout April. If the ballot results in an across the board rejection of AFC by all the unions then we retain the existing negotiating machinery. It was noted that BMA discussions on a Scottish Consultants Contract appear to be floundering. If the Early Implementers go ahead, there will be a paper exercise in St Johns, Livingston and the Golden Jubilee Hospital, Clydebank, shadowing the process. A recent announcement indicated that the DoH expected most trusts to become Foundation Hospitals in the fulness of time. There is therefore concern within NHSScotland that Foundation Hospitals' experience will not give Scotland the information it requires. The unions prime concerns are

There will be a meeting of the General Whitley Council at the end of May to consider the outcome of the various ballots.

The NAC meeting on 28th March has still to determine whether it is to be a two vote ballot. Although publicised as being a possibility, it seems to be being taken as fact. Unison have announced their plan to have two ballots and the TGWU are considering it. The RCN definitely do not want a two vote ballot. The NAC meeting on 27th February ruled out any analysis of the vote by profession or region in favour of having one result - either a "yes" or a "no". However, a previous agreed motion means that the value of that vote must be spelled out on the ballot paper. Apparently the DoH is as concerned as Amicus about the timescales and the rush. They want a consensus amongst the unions and are keeping the door open for negotiations. However, the NHS is the biggest aspect of public expenditure and the Government wants to modernise the NHS in time for the next general election. This is why the timescales are as they are. It was agreed that the SNHSC put a motion to the NHS NAC to delay any recommendation on the ballot until more information is available at the end of April.

Scottish Partnership Forum (SPF): The new SPF has held it's first meeting. Since the staff side have not resolved the issue of the joint chairs and secretaries, M Fuller is temporarily continuing as Staff SIde Chair. The first meeting was exploratory, but it is already clear that it will be focusing on 3 main issues

Health White Paper: In additon to the issues raised in the White Paper, Amicus and it's reps need to consider the related issues. WHat are the organisational consequences of the disappearance of Trusts? Local partnership forums will have to review their procedures and constitutions and consider how to integrate within a health board area. Amicus needs to pull Trust groups together so that by April 2004 there are 15-22 groups representing NHS Board areas. All reps need to be able to get together to discuss local policies. There also needs to be consideration of the new rule book and the review of local branches which recommends that all NHS members should be in NHS and not General branches. Membership of the SNHSC itself will need to be reviewed. It was noted that the rule book is likely to say that secretaries of Committees should by full time officers. This was considered by the SNHSC to be a retrograde step.

Human Resources Forum (HRF): As a result of discussions between M Fuller and other full time officials, SEG and Ray Stewart, it has been decided that M Fuller should transfer from the SPF to the HRF and be proposed as the joint chair of the forum. Unison have decided nationally to withdraw from the HRF. This is a major problem and it is hoped that this change might help to persuade them to reconsider that decision. There is to be a meeting tomorrow and if M Fuller is elected chair, one of the first items on the agenda is how to heal the rift.

Recruitment: Scotland recorded an 11.3% net gain in membership over 2002 and a 2.2% increase over the first two months of 2003.

Political Fund Ballot: This will start on May 12th. It is unfortunate that it coincides with the ballot on AfC, but memebr should be aware that it is also a very important ballot, as it is becoming increasingly difficult to campaign without a political fund.

Joint Futures: It was noted that there was an intention at some point to survey reps on their involvement in joint futures. The Joint Futures Advisory Group currently has two staff side seats, occupied by Unison and the RCN. Athird seat is now available and M Fuller has submitted a bid to try to secure the seat for Amicus. Acute hospitals are still very naive about the impact of joint futures. If any staff member is transferred from NHS to local authority employment, reps need to try to ensure that Amicus recognition is automatic. It was agreed that M Fuller should raise this at the HRF.

Public Health Practitioners: It was also agreed that M Fuller should try to convene a meeting of Public Health Practitioners, and it was suggested that this should also involve GHP members employed as Specialists in Pharmaceutical Public Health.

Executive Managers Group: This replaces the Senior Managers Group and will cover those not included in AfC. Staff side representation is provided by Amicus, BMA, RCN and Unison.

Healthcare Scientists Forum: This was officially set up on 4th March. Amicus has a seat as part of the Forum as has the FCS. The Forum has still to decide it's constitution and remit. There was some discussion on the inclusion/exclusion of pharmacists from this group.

back to top

ASTCP meeting 21/3/03

The Right Medicine:There was some discussion on the review of Medicines Information provision and the need to ensure proper training and quality assurance. A stakeholders meeting is planned for May/June. The misadventures with medicines group is to focus initially on pharmacy dispensing errors.The remit has been kept quite tight to ensure that the project does happen. There is then something to build upon in the future.

Agenda For Change: It was reported that an acknowledgement of the letter to the Health Minister had been received. Further joint work on AfC is being undertaken by ASTCP, GHP and RPSiS. There was a suggestion for joint ASTCP/GHP presentations on AfC. ASTCP members are to consider the implications of the annual leave and weekly hours changes of AfC. I suggested that the way forward was to quantify the cost and bid for some ofthe new money coming from the Scottish Executive. I provided an update on AfC based on the Glasgow and West of Scotland meeting the previous night.

Partnership for Care: There was considerable discussion on the White Paper which included the future of ASTCP if there are no trusts and where the Superintendent Pharmacist role might lie in future. The HDL on single system working was also discussed. There was some concern expressed about the procurement plans within PfC.

Other topics considered included emergency planning, workforce planning, supplementary prescribing and the ASTCP website.

back to top

Responses to Consultations

Submissions were made to both the OFT Report and Patient Safety Consultation. Both responses were circulated to ASTCP, RPSiS and SPGC and are available from the website.

back to top

ghpscot-announce e-Mailing List

Membership of the list is increasing all the time. The first AfC Bulletin was issued on 20th March along with the report of the Liverpool Group meeting. Both feature in the AfC resource page of the website, but the link for the bulletin is to an advert for the mailing list and GHP membership. The bulletin itself is not on the website, but will be issued to anyone joining the Guild and/or the mailing list.

Colin Rodden
21 March 2003

back to top